Leo Cliffe will be walking the equivalent of the British Isles to raise money for Derian House who has supported him from an early age.
Leo suffers from Williams Syndrome, a life-limiting genetic disorder which can cause problems with the whole body.
His condition has meant he has been on medication from an early age and has had over 50 operations throughout his life. In 2015 his mum, Vicki, was told by doctors that there was nothing more they could do for him.
Six months later, new specialists believed they could help Leo by operating to fix his kidneys. After a tough eight weeks in the hospital, Leo was told he had recovered enough to return home.
He now has taken on a very big walking challenge to support the children’s hospice who has helped him throughout his life. He will be walking 1,175 miles at home on his treadmill.
Leo explains why the postponement of his mum and step-dads wedding and the Coronavirus Pandemic inspired him to start the charity challenge:
“On April 3 this year, I was supposed to be walking my mum down the aisle to marry my step-dad, Scott. I was looking forward to the wedding so much and am disappointed that we’ll have to wait until October to do it now,
“The last couple of months have been really hard for me and my family. I have a condition called Williams Syndrome, which means I’ve not been able to leave the house since the start of the Coronavirus. I can’t go to college, to the shops, or even go out for exercise.”
Derian House is a children’s hospice that provides care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions. Each year they care for over 400 children and young people.
They have supported Leo over the years and he is now taking on this challenge to give something back to them:
“I can’t even visit one of my favourite places, Derian House, where I go to hang out with my friends and take part in lots of fun activities. One thing I have been doing is walking on my treadmill at home and that’s why I’ve had the idea that instead of walking my mum down the aisle, I’ll walk the whole of the British Isles!”
Leo explains how rare Williams Syndrome is and how it has effected him:
“My condition, which affects about one in every 20,000 people born in the UK, means I have some extraordinary gifts – I’m very friendly, funny and am brilliant at playing the drums. It’s also given me some unique challenges, I have health problems with my heart and kidneys and I have had more than 50 operations since I was born.”
Vicki explains how proud she is of Leo, why he struggles with a lot of walking and how he hasn’t let that stop him:
“I could not be more proud of Leo, he makes me want to burst with pride. He’s doing at least an hour a day on the treadmill which is really hard for him because he gets tired quite easily,
“Once he decided that he was doing this to raise money for Derian House, it gave him a real focus in lockdown but he needs some support to be able to do the full 1,175 miles.”
The young lad has already smashed his fundraising target and at the time of writing has already raised £6,385, you can help him raise even more by donating here.