KIND-hearted Kelly Alton is gearing up for a charity challenge in aid of a battling youngster she’s never even met.
Kelly admits she was reduced to tears when she heard about little Layla Davis, an eight-month-old from Sunderland who was diagnosed with several heart defects when she was just six weeks old and faces the prospect of more surgery as she grows older.
The brave youngster has already undergone two intricate bouts of surgery at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, the first straight after medics detected the condition and then again to repair a valve in an operation which isn’t normally done on children until they are least two years old.
As Layla continues to make good progress, her story has inspired Kelly to lace up her running shoes for the 13-mile Great North Run in September.
Kelly has already started training for the 13-mile trek between Newcastle and South Shields and is hoping to be in good enough shape to complete the race in less than two hours.
But, more importantly, she is aiming to rake in as much sponsor money as possible by running for Layla and the CHUF (Children’s Heart Unit Freeman) charity.
Kelly, who lives in the Bakers Mead area of Hartlepool, said: “I heard about Layla’s story as a friend of mine is friends with her mum, and when I saw her on Facebook I just cried.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’ve always wanted to do something to raise money and this story has really motivated me to do it.
“I’ll be running in Layla’s name for the CHUF charity, so hopefully people will sponsor me and I can raise a lot of money because the Freeman really does a fantastic job for children like Layla and others in the same situation.
“I’ve been in touch with Layla’s mum Amanda on Facebook and she’s really grateful that I’m doing the run. Layla is still in hospital at the moment but I’m hoping to arrange to meet her and her mum before the run.”
The 31-year-old, who works for an estate agents in Peterlee, will do the run alongside boyfriend Matty Allison, 31, who has completed the run on three previous occasions.
Kelly added: “Matty once did it in about an hour and a half, but I’ll be happy to complete it in less than two hours. It seems quite a while off, but I’m training now and I’m also doing a bootcamp with Jason Bland who runs Look Great Feel Great Fitness so I’m hoping I’ll be in good shape by the time the run comes around.”
To sponsor Kelly, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Kelly-Alton1