28 June 2021 Featured News

Kids pledge their support to 42k Your Way fundraising challenge

Eight-year-old Flynn Harding from Narangba, and six-year-old Chinchilla local, Evie Smith, have come on board as the official ambassadors for Children’s Hospital Foundation 42k Your Way fundraising challenge to help raise much-needed funds for sick kids.

Life changed forever for Flynn and his parents, Ashle and Mitchell, when he was recommended surgery to remove a lump on the palm of his hand last March.

When surgeons were unable to remove the lump as it had wrapped itself around his muscles and nerves, a biopsy was taken and sent for testing. A week later, his parents were told Flynn had an extremely rare cancer called epithelioid sarcoma.

Epithelioid sarcoma is a slow-growing type of soft tissue cancer, commonly found on the finger, hand, forearms, lower legs or feet.

Flynn was transferred to Queensland Children’s Hospital, where after various tests, a team of doctors advised Flynn would need his pinkie and ring finger amputated, all the way up to his wrist.

He also required a skin graft to cover the amputation site, so the remainder of his hand and fingers could be preserved. The total surgery time was nine hours.

“We were so nervous, anxious and stressed – at the end of the day, we just wanted our little man to be okay and go back to enjoying life like any other eight-year-old,” Ashle said.

“He’s been so incredibly brave throughout the journey, and we received so much support from the Children’s Hospital which is why we’re so thrilled to be able to give back by taking part in 42k Your Way.”

Flynn’s dad, Mitchell, is even running 42km each week in August to raise as much money as possible, to ensure kids like his have the best possible chance.

“I’ll be running seven kilometres a day for six days, with one rest day, and I’m looking forward to having Flynn running or cycling some of the kilometres alongside me,” Mitchell said.

“The Children’s Hospital Foundation has done so much for us as a family, and especially for Flynn, so for him to be chosen as the ambassador means so much.”

To get through the gruelling marathon effort each week, Mitchell is training hard in the months leading up to August, participating in CrossFit and runs three times a week.

Evie and her family know all too well the challenges sick kids face every day, as she is living with cystic fibrosis (CF) – a life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.

She was diagnosed at just four weeks old and has since experienced ongoing infections in her lungs, resulting in severe lung damage and hampered her body’s ability to maintain weight.

Evie will most likely require a double lung transplant down the track, however that doesn’t dampen her spirits or stop her from living life as the vivacious six-year-old she is.

To receive treatment at Queensland Children’s Hospital, Evie spends four to six weeks away from home at a time, saying goodbye to her family, friends and animals.

Despite her condition, Evie herself is going the distance to help sick kids like herself, completing the 42 kilometres over the course of August through short runs around her local community with her family.

“Evie is very excited to be able to participate in this challenge, with her best friend Koa and her closest friends,” her mum, Lee, said.

“Giving back to a Foundation that has provided her with so much support and fun during the most difficult time of her life is very rewarding. During Evie’s hospital admissions, the Children’s Hospital Foundation has provided her with hours of entertainment, bedside play and craft packs to name a few.

“We’re hoping that the money we raise will go to supporting the ongoing supply of these services, in the hope that other children can enjoy this as much as Evie does.”

Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO, Rosie Simpson, has commended Flynn, Evie and their families for their incredible support.

“We are delighted that Flynn and Evie have decided to support other kids going through similar journeys by coming on board in support of 42k Your Way,” she said.

“Everything we do is for kids and young people just like Flynn and Evie, and it’s a true privilege that they are choosing to raise awareness for Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“I encourage Queenslanders from right across the state to get behind Flynn and Evie and go the distance for sick kids this August. I can’t wait to see what the community can achieve when they come together.”

42k Your Way is a free, virtual event that you can do on your own, from anywhere, at any time. With every step, hop, jump or stroke, you’ll be getting fit and helping sick kids.

For more information on 42k Your Way, or to register, visit 42kyourway.org.au