A TEN-YEAR-OLD girl is to take on a marathon challenge in aid of her cancer-striken little sister.
Devoted Laura Jane Smith is pushing herself to the limit, by swimming further than she ever has to raise funds for the hospital unit which cares for her poorly sibling Heather.
The Thorney Close eight-year-old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, cancer of the white blood cells, last month.
She already suffers with multiple disabilities including Damp disorder, which stands for deficits in attention, motor control and perception.
It stops her brain from distinguishing between her arms and legs, meaning she can often fall.
Heather, who goes to Hasting Hill Primary School with Laura, also has attention deficit disorder, speech, language, eye problems and mild deafness.
Mum Michelle Smith said: “Laura has been finding it difficult to cope with Heather’s illness since we found out she had leukaemia last month, so she has organised this sponsored swimming event.
“She has done everything herself, from organising it to making the sponsorship forms.”
Laura, who is in the City of Sunderland Swimming Team and trains at the Aquatic Centre, has arranged to swim 1,500 metres – 60 lengths – from 7pm on Monday.
Michelle, 43, said: “She has arranged with her swimming coach to do the swim in one of her training sessions.
“She has never swum that far before, but her coach thinks she can do it.
“Laura is in the team’s Gold Squad now, which means she has progressed, and she swims in galas and stuff all the time.”
Laura visits Newcastle RVI when Heather has to go for treatment.
Michelle, a single mum, said: “Laura told Heather’s consultant that she is raising money for them, and he was thrilled.
“He asked her for all of the details of the swim because he wants to do something for her.
“He hasn’t said what so I don’t know what he has got planned.”
Hasting Hill Primary is also promoting Laura’s efforts.
Michelle said: “There is a newsletter sent out to all the schools, and they are putting an article in about Laura, and what she is doing for Heather.”
Michelle, a community staff nurse, said: “I think it’s great what Laura is doing.
“She has done it all off her own back, and she is only 10. I am very proud of her.”
Michelle said anyone who wants to sponsor Laura, and donate to the RVI, is welcome to go along to the swim and support her.