A determined 10-year-old girl has gone the extra mile for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she is a heart patient, by cycling 100 miles in one week and raising more than £1,300 to support Play in the hospital.

Jessica Weaver got on her bike every day and rode around the hilly village of Acton Burnell, in Shropshire, where she lives, to make up the distance, sometimes riding up to 19 miles in one. She was keen to raise money to fund the hospital’s Play and Recreation Facilitators and Workers, who help more than 250 children and families every single day.

When Jessica’s mum, Kathryn, was 20-weeks pregnant, her scan showed that Jessica’s heart had not developed correctly and consultants broke the news that her baby would be born with Pulmonary Atresia with Ventricular Septal Defect and Confluent Pulmonary Arteries.

As soon as she was born, Jessica was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and then at just eight-days old, she had her first open-chest surgery to insert a stent and a shunt, to open up her pulmonary valve and let oxygenated blood flow around her heart correctly. Seeing their tiny baby on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit after her operation was tough for Kathryn and her husband Andrew, but as well as taking good care of Jessica as she recovered, the hospital staff made sure mum and dad were looked after too.

Since her very first operation, Jessica has gone on to have many more, including both keyhole and open-heart surgeries and two new replacement valves. Due to the nature of her condition, she will need more surgery as she grows, but Jessica is thriving and keen to show the world that having a heart condition doesn’t always hold you back, which is why she came up with such an ambitious challenge.

Kathryn said: “I did warn Jessica that cycling 100 miles may be too much, but she was adamant that was what she wanted to do it. Apart from getting cold because of the weather, she never once complained and just got on with it like a trooper.

“We’re so thankful to everyone who supported Jessica. She wants the money to go to support the Play Team, who have always provided a welcome distraction and made her feel at ease during her stays, as well as helped her to understand her treatments.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We’re in awe of Jessica’s determination, and so impressed that she completed such a huge challenge – one which would scare off most adults!

“Play and recreation is a serious business at our hospital and central to life here. Children who are happy and relaxed cope better with their treatment, and recover a lot quicker, than those who are more anxious. That’s where our fantastic Play and Recreation Facilitators come in. They make sure all of our children get the chance to be kids first and patients second.”

Please visit our Power of Play appeal to find out how you can support our hospital.