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Record attempt to help Leeds girl with rare cancer

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Hundreds of people descended on a Leeds park in a boot-iful show of support for a girl with cancer.

More than 500 people took part in a welly walk around Roundhay Park yesterday in a record attempt to raise money for Kendal Middleton Jessop, who turns four this month.

The youngster, from Swarcliffe, has neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer with a 40 per cent survival rate.

Her dad, Stuart Middleton, said: “It was overwhelming to see so many people come down.”

Kendal, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two, has been through a gruelling period since the start of the year.

After undergoing chemotherapy she was told last month that her illness had returned.

She was also diagnosed with swine flu.

Her cancer appears to be limited to her leg, meaning that she can be treated in the UK for now.

However, a fundraising campaign launched by her father and mum, Laine Jessop, is aiming to cover the costs of treatment in the US should Kendal require healthcare not currently available in this country.

Yesterday’s walk, which started at the Lakeside Cafe, took participants on a circular route up to the Mansion venue and back via the cricket pitch.

Mr Middleton said: “Kendal managed to walk a little bit of the way, but she’s in a fair amount of pain at the moment and we had to carry her for part of it.”

Organisers were hoping to break the record for the biggest welly walk ever held in Yorkshire, which is thought to stand at under 400.

The event saw people paying £2 to take part. There was also a raffle, with two handbags by Bag Envy up for grabs.

The final amount raised has yet to be calculated, but the walk raised several thousand pounds.

Lee Wilson, who helps to administer the fundraising, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day.

“We didn’t know how many people were going to turn up, but there were so many who came down in their wellies and their onesies.

“The atmosphere was absolutely electric.”

While the walk was taking place, skydivers were also jumping out of a plane in Scunthorpe in support of Kendal’s appeal.

Mr Wilson added: “A lot of people have been touched by Kendal’s story.

“There’s a real community spirit about all the events we do.”

For more information about Kendal’s condition and to donate to the appeal visit www.justgiving.com/kendalmiddletonjessopappeal.

 

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