Courageous girl, 4, who defied odds by walking marathon takes on new challenge

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Last year she defied all odds to complete a gruelling charity marathon.

And now Izzy Pyne is embarking on another tough fundraiser – a ‘Five Challenges Before Five’ event.

The courageous four-year-old has complex neurodisability, which means she has severe brain damage, she can’t talk, walk or sit-up.

Born prematurely, she needs round the clock care, is fed through a tube and is prone to seizures.

Izzy is often in pain – last year she underwent several operations – but despite everything she has been keen to raise money to help others.

For her 2020 marathon, she wore a harness to walk 42.2km, raising £6,740 for charity.

Izzy has complex neurodisability and needs round the clock care
Izzy has complex neurodisability and needs round the clock care

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She walked more than 2km most days and completed the marathon in four weeks.

Now less than a year later, Izzy is ready to take on a fresh challenge to raise money for four charities and a non-profit organisation.

She’s getting ready to take on ‘Izzy’s 5 Challenges Before 5’. She will do 500 sit-ups, 500 ball throws, 500 switch presses, 500 foot and hand prints and 500 giggles, before her fifth birthday in October. She is almost halfway through them.

The foot and hand prints will be used to make cards for key workers and vulnerable people who have had to shield.

Izzy wore a harness to walk 42.2km with her brother Ben and mum Heather
Izzy wore a harness to walk 42.2km with her brother Ben and mum Heather

Money raised will go towards Rainbows Hospice in Loughborough, Helen Douglas House in Oxford, Nottingham-based charity Disability Support, Children’s Big Appeal at Nottingham Hospitals Charity and Pawsitive Squad CIC, which was founded by Heather.

Mum Heather, 27, from Nottingham, says: “We had reached that point where life had gotten very miserable and very tough and we needed something that brought happiness into every day, something positive and fun.

“We are just trying to find something to focus on everyday, otherwise life is getting very down for us.

As part of the challenge Izzy will do 500 foot and hand prints to make cards for key workers
As part of the challenge Izzy will do 500 foot and hand prints to make cards for key workers

“It has been a really tough year with shielding for months, which is why we did the marathon, we needed something to focus us and get us out into the community again.

Izzy raised £6,740 from her marathon for Pawsitive Squad CIC, which uses dogs to help disabled children.

The non-profit organisation will use the funds to kit out their caravan to create a changing area and a sensory and a medical space for service-users.

Some of the money will also go to training therapy and assistance dogs.

Izzy will do 500 sit-ups, 500 ball throws, 500 switch presses, 500 foot and hand prints and 500 giggles
Izzy will do 500 sit-ups, 500 ball throws, 500 switch presses, 500 foot and hand prints and 500 giggles

Heather says she was keen for Izzy to raise the money by doing a challenge herself as Izzy is a direct user of the charity.

She says: “I wanted to show, she has so much to give, she can do amazing things just in her own way and that is just as valid. If you see us in town or somewhere out, you would see a child pretty shut down, not engaging with the world.

“You look at young people like that and people think, this child doesn’t have much quality of life, you feel sorry for that situation, but the marathon turned it around, we made people think, ‘oh this child has a lot to give’ and ‘people with disabilities are awesome’, it was really nice to see that shift.”

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“I was like, ‘come on kiddo, if you’re going to fundraise you have to participate’, but also remind people because it is so easy for kids like Izzy to be viewed as completely useless, that they can’t do anything, they are no benefit to society.”

Heather says even after the marathon, locals now approach Izzy to say hello and says the first fundraiser did “break down barriers”.

She says the first 10 days of the marathon were challenging and the family almost gave up until a friend suggested posting the challenge on social media. Heather then posted which area in Nottinghamshire they would be walking each day.

Izzy is hoping to raise money for five charities before her 5th birthday
Izzy is hoping to raise money for five charities before her 5th birthday

“One lady came running out of her cafe, shouting ‘Go Izzy’, some people brought bubbles when Izzy went by”, says Heather.

“People were very respectable and I would get messages saying they wanted to cheer us on but not scare the children and people asked how they could support us and if it was okay to clap or wave.

“It was nice to see how aware people were of differences and how inclusive people were and that really surprised me. It was actually really emotional.”

To make a donate to Izzy’s 5 Challenges Before 5, visit, www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/izzys5challengesbefore5

Do you have a story to share? We’d love to hear all about it. Get in touch via yourmirror@mirror.co.uk

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