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Pedal power challenge raises money for children’s hospices

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Francesca Lennon, a dedicated children’s hospice nurse, has returned with another epic fundraiser: swapping her uniform for cycling shorts to raise vital funds for children’s hospices across the UK.

Over the next seven days, during Children’s Hospice Week 2024, Francesca and her team will cycle 54 miles each day – a mile for every children’s hospice in the UK. The CHATUK fundraiser will see her visit seven children’s hospices and raise money for Together for Short Lives. Funds raised from her challenge will help us to continue to provide vital support to children’s hospices up and down the country.

Francesca, who worked as a children’s nurse in the NHS for over nine years before moving into the children’s hospice sector, will set off from one of the seven hospices each morning and cycle 54 miles, before returning that afternoon. She will be joined each day by staff from the children’s hospice, family and friends.

Setting off from Demelza on Monday, Francesca and her team will visit Demelza, Acorns Children’s Hospice, Children’s Hospice South West’s Charlton Farm, Tŷ Hafan, Rainbows and Martin House, before finishing at Derian House Children’s Hospice.

This is the second time Francesca is completing an epic challenge to raise funds for children’s hospices. In 2022, she took on a mammoth 3200-mile cycle during Children’s Hospice Week 2022, visiting every children’s hospice in the UK and raising over £80,000 for Together for Short Lives!

Just four months before the start of her challenge in 2022, Francesca experienced her own personal loss, when her best friend’s son Henry died from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at nine years old. Henry’s dad Hua will be joining Francesca for the last half of the week, cycling together in memory of Henry. Hua will also join Francesca on the first day of the challenge at Demelza, where Henry was cared for.

As well as raising vital funds, Francesca is hoping to raise awareness of the challenges that children’s palliative care is facing, including the risk of vital services provided by children’s hospices being cut if the next UK Government don’t commit to protecting £25 million of crucial funding for children’s hospices.

Francesca said: “I know first-hand that caring for a child with serious health needs 24/7 is emotionally and physically exhausting. Every day in my job, I get to meet the most incredible children and families, and I see just how life-changing support from children’s hospices are for them. Every mile is for the incredible staff supporting children like Henry, and the families themselves. They will push me on to cross the finishing line once again.”

Nick Carroll, Director of Fundraising at Together for Short Lives added: “Francesca is, quite simply, one of the most inspiring people we know. Not only is she there for seriously ill children and families in her job, but she is also going the extra mile for them in this incredible challenge. It is a privilege to have her support, and we will be cheering the whole team on as they also help raise important awareness of the role children’s hospices play and why they urgently need more support from whichever party forms the next government.”

If you’d like to support Francesca’s challenge, there’s still time! Head to her JustGiving page, where your donation will play a vital role in supporting children’s hospices across the UK.

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