The ill niece of Leamington sporting star Kelly Sibley has inspired her to help raise tens of thousands of pounds for a cause close to her heart.
Kelly’s niece Flo Unwsorth, who is four, was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly after the table tennis player won the national championships last March.
Whenever we were struggling she reminded us of why we were doing itKelly Sibley
But the Cubbington youngster was there to cheer Kelly on when she and fellow members of RunTeamFlo completed the Great Birmingham Run on their way to raising more than £23,000 for research into the disease.
Kelly, 26, who had been training for the Commonwealth Games and the recent successful retention of her national title at the time, said: “We saw Flo three times on the way round and whenever we were struggling she reminded us of why we were doing it.
“I couldn’t train for the race specifically because I was preparing for the Commonwealths so I was just there to try to support my family and really help them to get round.
“We made it round together and it was really emotional at the end to have shared the achievement and for Flo to have been there too.”
Flo‘s mother Kim said her daughter is now in the ‘maintenance’ stage of her treatment which is taking place at University Hospital Coventry and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
The treatment for girls takes between two to two-and-a-half years and up to three-and-a-half years for boys.
Flo is now attending nursery when she is well enough and she can now swim and enjoy soft play again.
Kim said: “Kelly and the team did an amazing job in the build up to the run and during it. We’re really proud of them.
“It’s such a fantastic cause and we want as much money to be raised as possible to fund all the research into this dreadful disease.
“The support from the public has been incredible and I want to thank everyone who has taken part or donated.”
Flo’s neighbours in High View Road have held a cake sale to raise funds to buy rewards for ‘bravery cupboards’ at the two hospitals’ children’s wards
And the youngster’s nursery Oakdene held a fun day which raised £2,255 for the Birmingham hospital and a day out for Flo.
Kelly, an ambassador for the Pink Pong breast cancer charity, is planning more fundraising activities.