MEMBERS of a close-knit family will use the memory of an inspiring little girl who they lost to a rare illness as inspiration for this year’s Marathon of the North.
Loved ones of Seaham tot Olivia Moyle, who died aged just six after suffering from chromosome 7-P depletion, will take on the 26-mile course around the streets of Sunderland in her memory.
Cash raised will help the work carried out at Easington’s Glendene School, where Olivia was a pupil.
Doting grandmother Gillian, 51, who is mum to Olivia’s dad Owan and is one of those taking part, said: “We are just going to concentrate on Glendene School because we feel that they would really benefit from the money we will raise.
“The school made such a difference to our Olivia’s life and we want to give something back.
Olivia was born with a rare brain condition and suffered from breathing problems and fits.
Even before she was born, surgeons had to carry out an operation on Olivia through mum Lisa Jane’s womb to drain fluid from her blocked kidneys.
After her birth she was in intensive care for six weeks at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and had undergone three major operations by the time she was four weeks old.
Despite a courageous battle with her illness, she died in June 2010.
Last year Gillian and other members of Olivia’s family completed an epic 140-mile round walk on St Oswald’s Way, from Holy Island to Seaham, raising a huge £6,000 for the neonatal charity Tiny Lives and Glendene School.
Joining Gillian will be her daughter Alison McCarthy and Olivia’s stepmum Billie Moyle.
“We would love to be able to raise the same money as last year,” added Gillian.
“We did the 140 miles last May in about a week and there were a lot of blisters, which we are expecting again when we do the marathon.
“It’s a long way so we are just starting our training regime now,” added Gilian, of Victoria Street, Seaham.
“Last month, we started going to the gym, but we’ve started a programme that we should be doing to get us ready.”
To enter the Marathon of the North, Half Marathon of the North or Sunderland City 10k events, go to www.marathonofthenorth.co.uk.
All three races take place on Sunday, April 28, starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, in Monkwearmouth.