Hartlepool youngster and cancer battler determined to play their part on Miles For Men race day

A little Hartlepool girl who a year ago was unable to walk is set to triumphantly across the finishing line of a major fun run.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 5:22 pm

Four-year-old Dottie O’Keefe is planning to take part in next weekend’s Miles For Men and Walk For Women event on what organisers say will be an emotional day.

Also planning to take part is Tommy Fletcher, who has terminal cancer.

Dottie O'Keefe with mother Helen Noon and father Dan O'Keefe.

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He says he wants to give something back to Miles For Men which has helped him so much.

Just four months ago Dottie, who has cerebral palsy, had an operation to her spine to help her walk, after Miles or Men raised £18,000 towards the surgery.

Members of her family are due to take part in the 5k runs on Sunday, July 29, including parents Helen Noon and Danny O’Keefe.

Dottie will be pushed around the majority of the course at Seaton Carew in her wheelchair, but will walk across the finishing line by herself.

Dottie standing on her own two feet.

Mum Helen said: “It would be amazing as she has never been able to do it before.

“It will be the first time she has done anything like that. She keeps telling everyone she is doing it.”

When she crosses the finish line she will be saluted by members of the 88 Arracan Battery Royal Artillery who will fire a blank shell overhead and chant her name.

Miles For Men has helped Tommy to marry his partner Jacky Wilkinson and also to meet his wrestling idol Daniel Bryan.

Miles For Men's Rob Collier and Michael Day training with members of 88 Arracan battery Royal Artillery.

Tommy said on an online fundraising page: “I would love to give something back to the charity that has given me and my family so much support since I was given the news that I had.”

The Royal Artillery regiment is showing its support for the event by pulling a two tonne gun around the route before the main race starts at 1pm.

Joining them will be Miles For Men founder Michael Day and patron Rob Collier.

They have been put through their paces training for the gun run at the regiment’s base in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

Jackie and Tommy Fletcher with Ralph Foster (left) and Stephen Picton from Miles For Men. Picture by FRANK REID

Michael said: “It has been very tough but they have made us feel so welcome.

“We have been doing lifting techniques, exercises and running with the gun.”

To register for next Sunday’s race which starts and ends at Seaton Clock Tower see www.milesformen.co.uk.

To sponsor Tommy go to ‘Tommys miles for men and walk for women donation page’ at www.justgiving.com