An inspirational nursery practitioner has stepped into this week’s Charity Champion top spot after organising a 17-mile walk / run in memory of one of her pupils, which raised over £680 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Louise Vernon, 43, who works at St Gabriel’s Pre-School in Tamworth, was inspired to fundraise in memory of one of the children, Theo, who passed away as a patient Birmingham Children’s Hospital aged just five-years-old.

Theo was diagnosed with leukaemia for a second time when he was three-years-old and after battling the disease, he sadly lost his fight earlier this year.

To honour Theo’s memory, Louise organised the 17-mile walk/run from the nursery and school in Tamworth to the children’s hospital. Over 40 people took part in the event – including Theo’s mum, Claire, and dad, Richard, who walked the first part of the journey to the school as well as many of Theo’s friends and Louise’s colleagues.

Louise said: “When Theo was at his most unwell, it brought back many painful and raw memories for me. I lost my own friend to cancer when we were in our teens, plus I’ve also had my own cancer journey. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 but luckily have been cancer free for seven years. Watching Theo and his family go through it so was so difficult. 

“Theo was a lovely boy from a lovely family and his passing hit all of us really hard. So organising the walk / run was a way of coping with the loss, turning a tragic event into something positive. 

“It originally started with just a few of us but ended up encompassing so many different parts of the community. I am so thankful to everyone for pulling together to raise vital funds to give back to the hospital. It’s our way of saying thank you for the care they gave Theo.

Serena Daw, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We’re so proud of Louise and her whole community for honouring Theo in this way. It’s always so inspirational to hear how tragic events, like losing a loved one, can pull communities together. They have created a wonderful lasting legacy for Theo.

“The £683 they have raised will go on to directly help patients and families on our Oncology Department, where Theo was treated.”