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Brave girl suffering from brain tumour inspires firefighters to take part in London charity race

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FIVE firefighters are fundraising for a young girl with a brain tumour by taking part in a world-famous race in London.

Kyle Rotheram, 33, and four colleagues from Whitehaven White Watch in Cumbria, will be taking part in the hugely popular Red Bull Soapbox Challenge in the capital in July.

They will be lining up on the start line of the charity fundraiser in aid of the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle where Kyle’s 11-year-old daughter Tilly Mae is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour.

Kyle and partner Steff, who live in the Workington area in Cumbria, decided to raise money for the unit having seen first-hand the amazing care they give to children from all across the North of England.

Kyle said: “In August our 11-year-old daughter Tilly Mae was diagnosed with stage one cancer with a tumour on the brain.

“She received treatment at the Great North Children’s Hospital where they removed as much of the tumour as they safely could.

“The care she received was exceptional and the hospital was very child friendly. Tilly will remain under the care of the hospital for another ten years.

“Seeing so many young children receiving treatment and care was a harrowing experience. But you could also see the hope through all the anguish.

“You see all the brave children who still laugh and joke despite what they are going through and all the staff who work so hard to ensure they feel comfortable and have the best care whilst at the hospital, and further support upon returning to their homes.

“When you have a child being treated there you see that all the staff are absolutely amazing. They make sure they do all they can for the children so that it doesn’t feel like a hospital environment. They make sure it’s not a scary place.

“They have a cinema room with all the latest cinema releases, lots of toys, playrooms, chill-out areas, activities such as music lessons, even ‘clown doctors’. It’s these little things they do for the children which make so much difference. We want to make sure we raise as much money as possible so
they can continue to do that for the children.”

Red Bull Soapbox Challenge fan Tilly Mae – who has an older sister Kelsey, 20, and younger sister Seren, five – has already raised more than £2,000 for the hospital through the appeal.

Tilly Mae’s car, which will feature a theme from her favourite video game Fortnite, is one of only 70 teams picked from the whole country to win through to take part in the Red Bull Soapbox Challenge at Alexandra Palace, London on July 3, an event which is broadcast on national television.

Businesses have rallied round to support the family and help the firefighters raise as much money as possible in Tilly Mae’s name so the hospital can continue to give children the best possible support.

Forth, an engineering business based in Cumbria well known for going the extra mile for its communities and which has a global reputation for delivering innovative solutions, has donated its time for free to help the firefighters construct the Red Bull Soapbox Challenge car.

Mark Telford, Forth managing director, said: “As soon as we heard about Tilly Mae and what her family were looking to achieve we wanted to get involved.

“Our engineers want to support the family in any way they can and if that means more money is raised to help Tilly Mae and her family and other children and families affected by cancer that’s the very least we can do.”

Steve’s Paints in Workington is providing paints, brushes and primers, in conjunction with Crown Paints. Local schools are also holding fundraising non-uniform days.

Kyle is no stranger to his own acts of kindness for the community. At Christmas his Whitehaven White Watch collected almost 450 children’s chocolate selection boxes and delivered 60 to West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, 60 to the Great North Hospital, Newcastle, 220 to a local foodbank and the rest to children in the Whitehaven area.

To donate to Tilly Mae’s appeal please visit or search for 2022rb-comewhatmae on Instagram. If you represent a business which
could offer a raffle prize for a fundraiser please also contact the family through the Instagram page.


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