A Doncaster family has launched a fundraising campaign in memory of a toddler who captured the nation’s hearts.
Professional boxer Craig Derbyshire and his family are taking on a series of charity challenges to raise money to help a fundraising campaign to provide a sanctuary for terminally ill children.
The family were so touched by the story of 16-month-old Blackburn girl Poppy-Mai Barnard, who died of a rare brain tumour, that they contacted her family to say they wanted to help raise cash in her memory.
Mr Derbyshire, aged 24, of Bentley, is taking part in a half marathon around Lake Windermere on Sunday as part of the campaign.
He said: “We read about Poppy-Mai on Facebook, her parents had done a journal and we followed her story all the way along for months.
“When we found out she had passed away and heard about the family’s plans to raise money to build a sanctuary for ill children we wanted to do whatever we could to help.
“We contacted the family’s fundraising page and they were happy for us to get involved.”
As well as Mr Derbyshire’s half marathon, his niece Robyn Chambers, aged 10, is also doing a 3K run to raise money for the cause.
Mr Derbyshire’s wife Gem who first found out about Poppy-Mai on Facebook said: “Poppy’s charity has been put together by her mum and dad to build a sanctuary for ill children to go to with their families for a break away from everything, to have fun. They have currently raised half the funds that they need.
“We can’t imagine what her family are going through at the moment and we think this is a brilliant idea for terminally ill children to be able to have all the happiness that they deserve in their lives, so everything that we raise will go directly into the Poppys Field Fund.
“I will also be at the event with charity boxes and every penny will be appreciated.”
Speaking about the half marathon Mr Derbyshire said: “I’ve never done a half marathon before, the most I’ve ever run is eight and a half miles but I’ve been training every day so hopefully I should be OK.”
The story of Poppy-Mai made headlines across the country capturing the nation’s hearts after her parents, Sammi Baker-Barnard, 29, and Andy Barnard, 31, documented her fight on their Facebook page, ‘The Journal of Poppy-Mai.’
n To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/CraigRobyn2016