Teacher to tackle marathon for cancer-stricken niece
A BRISTOL teacher is preparing to run a marathon in support of his cancer-stricken young niece.
Ritchie Harris was inspired to take part in the Brighton Marathon after his nine-year-old niece Issy Miller was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in September and told she needed a lifesaving operation.
Within two months, blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan found a bone marrow donor for Issy and she is now in Bristol Children's Hospital following a transplant on December 13.
Ritchie, 28, will run the marathon in April to raise money for the charity.
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He said: "Issy's diagnosis was such a shock to all of us, but it was amazing how quickly a match was found.
"This is now a cause close to all of our hearts and it is vital to continue raising funds to enable Anthony Nolan to do the lifesaving work that it does.
"I'm thrilled with the response to my fundraising page already - every person on the register has the potential to save a life and the more this message is spread, the more matches that can be found."
There are more than 465,000 people on the bone marrow register but Anthony Nolan can only find a match for half of the people who need them. There are 1,600 people in the UK who are in need of a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.
Ritchie has already raised £1,350 to support his marathon race.
Kirsty Low, senior events manager at Anthony Nolan, said: "Committed fundraisers like Ritchie make a lifesaving difference to the work we do.
"The money they raise will go directly towards helping us expand our bone marrow register; this enables us to make more matches for people with blood cancer and save more lives. We need more individuals to step forward, take up a challenge and help save a life."
To sponsor Ritchie, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Harris-Izzy/new/2
To follow Issy's story, visit http://issystuff.wordpress.com/
To join the bone marrow register, sign up at www.anthonynolan.org/register.