Sun, 05 Jul 2020
A 10-year-old girl has completed a marathon in aid of a brain tumour charity and in memory of her uncle.
Throughout May, Ava Oakes ran a total of 26 miles around woodland near her home at Burghfield Common.
Ava is an accomplished ballet dancer and netball player, but has no background in running.
The run was inspired by her uncle Liam North, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour five years ago. Mr North, who lived in Gloucester, died on May 29 at the age of 47.
Ava completed her marathon one day before his funeral.
She had originally set a target of £1,000 through donations from friends and family, but her efforts stirred local interest and she has now raised nearly £3,000 for Brain Tumour Research.
On her JustGiving page, Ava said: "My uncle Liam died as his brain tumour could not be treated or cured.
"Now I am very sad for my cousins, as they do not have a dad any more.
"There is not enough money being spent on research into brain tumours.
"It was not fair that the doctors didn't have any new medicines to give to my uncle to try and make him better, or even just to stop him from getting more poorly."
Ava's mother Claire said: "It was devastating for us all to hear that there was nothing more which could be done for Liam.
"We felt a sense of helplessness and wanted to do something positive.
"Ava was determined to do something and I am really proud of her.
"I think it's a wonderful achievement, particularly as previously she hadn't run further than one mile."
Brain Tumour Research spokesman Hugh Adams said: "We're really touched by what Ava has done and by her concern for her young cousins and desire to help stop other families having to go through this.
"Sadly, 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year and, despite the fact they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, historically, just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease."
To make a donation to Ava's cause, visit her JustGiving page.