Amy and Marcia take on 127-mile canal trek for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity

Kelly Thornham News

A grateful family whose nephew and cousin spent four months on Bradford Royal Infirmary’s neonatal unit are this summer walking the Leeds-to-Liverpool canal towpath to raise vital funds for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.

Marcia Pearson, 22, and her mum, Amy, 43, from Eccleshill, are set to trek the 127-mile route in August as a ‘thank you’ to the doctors and nurses for saving the life of Cameron Gooding-Brown, 12, who was born at just 24 weeks in 2008. Cameron is the son of Amy’s sister, Emma Gooding-Brown and her husband, Paul.

Marcia, a final year media production and journalism student at York St John University, said: “We’ve never forgotten the care Cameron received from Consultant Neonatologist, Dr Chris Day, and the countless doctors and nurses during the four months Cameron spent on the unit in 2008.

“With lockdown, I’ve been back living at home and with not being able to get to the gym my mum and I have been doing lots of walking.

“When mum mentioned she had always wanted to walk the whole length of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, I thought: ‘Why don’t we do it this summer?’ Then we thought: ‘Well if we are doing it, we should do it for charity’ and we thought: ‘What charity is close to our hearts?’ and without a second thought, we remembered the Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Neonatal Unit so we’re doing it for the BIG Neonatal Appeal, as it’s a lovely way to thank them all these years later.”

The BIG Neonatal Appeal aims to create more parent bedrooms and better facilities for families visiting their babies in the neonatal unit which treats around 500 babies from across the region each year.

Amy, a teaching assistant, and Marcia have already started training. The duo walked  around 12-and-a-half miles from Kildwick to Shipley recently.

The Leeds-Liverpool, cross-Pennine canal is the longest in Britain, taking 46 years to complete. It crosses the Pennine watershed near to Barnoldswick where there is a link with the Pennine Way National Trail and takes in West and North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

Amy’s husband, Brent, is acting as support along the 127-mile route and the duo will start in Leeds and return home every night while walking locally, they’ll then stay in hotels along the towpath before finishing at Liverpool docks.

Amy added: “We’re hoping to raise £500 but it would be great if we could beat this target as we really are so grateful to the doctors and nurses for saving Cameron’s life and the fantastic care they gave him over four, long months.

“We’re also keeping our fingers crossed for good weather!”

Cameron’s mum, Emma, commented: “Paul and I are both so proud of Amy and Marcia for taking on the mammoth walk of 127 miles of the Leeds Liverpool Canal to raise money for the BRI’s neonatal unit.

“We’ll be eternally grateful for the kindness and care the nurses and doctors showed Cam and also us as a family.

“Whilst we know we’ll never be able to fully repay that debt, Amy and Marcia’s amazing efforts will hopefully go some way towards this.” 

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospital’ Charity, said: “Sincere thanks to Marcia and Amy for taking on this mammoth challenge for our babies.

“Our neonatal unit provides intensive treatment for pre-term and poorly babies and is a specialist regional centre, caring for more than 500 of our tiniest patients every year who come from across Yorkshire.

“One of the aims of the Big Appeal is to extend our current family accommodation to ensure more parents have a place to rest, away from the ward and somewhere comfortable to stay overnight so they can be close to their child.”

Visit Amy and Marcia’s Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marcia-pearson1

For more information about the BIG Neonatal Appeal, which aims to create more parent bedrooms and better facilities for families visiting their babies in the Neonatal Unit, visit https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/big-neonatal-appeal/

If you would like to support your local NHS by donating, fundraising or volunteering, contact Bradford Hospitals’ Charity on 01274 274809 or email charity@bthft.nhs.uk

Marcia and Amy
Cameron as a baby
Cameron now