Six-year-old from Roundhay in Leeds tackles mammoth challenge inspired by cousin who is under care of Great Ormond Street Hospital
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Sophie Gupte rollerskated 50km throughout the month of August to raise funds for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, as the hospital is caring for her 10-year-old cousin Amelia. Amelia has undergone heart surgery on three occasions despite her young age, inspiring Sophie to throw her support behind children who require the help of the children’s hospital in London.
Sophie’s mum Hilary said: “I'm really, really proud of her. Doing something that can make a difference to other children at her age, and to understand what children that could be and what impact it can have, and what additional support they may need, I think she's got so much comprehension of that from seeing her cousin.
"I follow Great Ormond Street on social media because my 10-year-old niece has had heart surgeries there. When they issued the challenge of skating 50km in August, it was an ideal way for Sophie to do something. We thought 50km was a big enough challenge, we didn't quite realise how big it was but she was happy to do it.
"We talked about the kind of kids it would help, and how it's just like her cousin. She was really keen to do it and really proud to do it, and in her eyes almost doing it for her cousin.”
Sophie made the journey down to London to speak to Great Ormond Street Hospital staff about her efforts and she has received a certificate for her work, which raised £945 for the hospital. To make the achievement even more special, her cousin was waiting for her at the finishing line after she completed her final kilometre.
Hilary said: “I'm just mega proud at how much she has managed to raise. People gave really generously, I think they realised what a huge challenge it was for a six-year-old.”
Back in August, Sophie turned seven but was determined to complete the challenge before her birthday, something she managed to do with just two days to spare. For many of the kilometres she completed, she was accompanied and supported by her four-year-old sister Freya, who walked alongside her. She also had the backing of her mum, a keen skater herself who says Sophie is a “natural”.
Hilary said: “She turned seven on August 23 and we decided to get it done while she was still six. We finished it on August 21, so it was all done in three weeks. There didn't seem to be many children doing it. Every time I posted a photo on the Great Ormond Street Facebook page of Sophie do it, they were all so pleased and so amazed at how well she was doing and how much she'd managed to do.”
Sights have now been set on a 100km challenge, although Hilary doubts she would be able to keep up.
She said: “I think she'll definitely be staying on the skates, she's already looked into ice skating and I think she'll be having a go at that now. Next year, she has said she wants to do 100km, but I don't think me and her sister will be able to do that distance with her!”
Great Ormond Street Hospital estimate that around 600 children and young people arrive for life-changing treatments on a daily basis. The charity Sophie raised funds for supports four key areas – rebuilding and refurbishment, support for families and children, research into children’s health and life-saving medical equipment. More information about the charity can be found on their official website.