Debbie Holmes, a 13-year-old from East Malling in Kent, took part in the Pretty Muddy 5km race in Maidstone to raise money for Spread a Smile on Sunday 9th July.

Intrepid Debbie chose to undertake the challenge with a big group of her family and friends after experiencing Spread a Smile’s magic first-hand. We first met Debbie soon after she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, in April 2014 while she was receiving radiotherapy treatment at UCLH. We visited her with magicians, singers and our cuddly therapy dogs. We have also invited her to several special events outside of hospital: she has seen Disney’s The Lion King, a Diversity dance show and Take That in concert, as well as attending our annual festive party with her family and friends. She loved our visits so much she decided to raise money for Spread a Smile so we could visit more children and teenagers like her.

The 5 kilometre Pretty Muddy race involved a series of obstacles and a whole lot of mud! Debbie and her teammates scrambled over an A-frame, crawled through a mud pit, slithered through muddy tunnels and slid into a pool of mud. The race was a particular challenge for Debbie as she has an internal prothesis in her leg as part of her cancer treatment. Her mum, Cheryl, said she was amazed how Debbie managed to complete the entire course unaided. Debbie was tired by the end of the race but her team of fellow runners and cheerleaders got her through. The group included: Debbie Holmes, Ashleigh Holmes, Rachel Holmes, Katie Middleton, Christie Middleton, Sandra Ayoub, Mariam Ayoub, Ellie Conran, Jodie Conran, Millie Conran, Hannah Wheat, Gemma Wheat, Sophie Wheat, Holly Owen, Karen Owen, Gemma Crome, Claire Crome, Rachel Crome, Lucy Chapman, Chris Chapman, Angela Ward, Ilenia Ward, Alice Velvick, Cheryl Velvick, and even Debbie’s teacher Kathy Barry. They had a lot of fun on the day and got thoroughly muddy! The smiles in the pictures said it all.

We are so grateful to Debbie that she took the Pretty Muddy challenge for us. So far her team ‘Mud-erific Madness 2’ has raised an amazing £1,481 – almost three times their target!