A kind-hearted woman has raised over £2,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after taking on two half marathons in support of her friend’s little girl, who has been under the hospital’s care since she was born.

39-year-old Gemma Mitchell, from Bromsgrove, has been on a mission to raise funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity ever since her friends Kirsty and Andy’s daughter, Margot, was born with Spina Bifida in 2019.

Kirsty and Andy knew about their baby’s diagnosis from very early in their pregnancy, so they were prepared that when Margot was born, they’d be spending a lot of time at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for urgent care and life-changing operations. Kirsty and Andy had nothing but praise for the hospital staff and the care they received as parents, as well as the treatment for Margot, however it was difficult for old friends Gemma and her husband David to see them go through so much.

It was this that inspired Gemma to lace up her trainers for the hospital’s charity for the first time, taking on the 2019 Birmingham Half Marathon. Having fallen out of love with running, Gemma trained hard to get back up to speed and completed the race with David at her side, raising over £1,000.

Gemma planned to continue her fundraising, to raise even more, but then the pandemic hit, pausing her efforts. Margot’s incredible care at Birmingham Children’s Hospital continued though, and as soon as the world re-opened and events started up again, Gemma signed herself up for another half marathon, raising a further £1,000, despite a painful ankle injury. She even inspired her employer to pledge their support, sponsoring decorations and activities on one of the hospital’s wards over Christmas.

Gemma said: “David and I felt so helpless when Margot was born. Kirsty and Andy couldn’t speak highly enough of the care that they were all receiving at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but there was nothing we could do to help them, so we decided we’d raise money to show our support.

“Margot’s treatment and care means she’s able to live a full and happy life, and now we just want to keep raising money to say thank you for that. She really is our little hero.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Having a child in hospital is a worrying time for parents, and friends and family can often feel helpless, as Gemma described, but fundraising can make a direct impact on our patients and their families.

“The incredible amount Gemma raised, and getting her employers onboard to support us too, means we can continue to do more for sick kids like Margot.”