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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Cumbrian man set for gruelling challenge to help girl, 2, with leukaemia fight

A brave two-year-old girl from Workington has begun a battle against leukaemia – and inspired a family friend to do everything he can to help.

James Carr photo
James Carr, right, with Martyn Shutt and Helen Johnson, their son Alfie and Emily

Touched by her courage, James Carr has taken on a gruelling physical challenge to help Emily Shutt, of Garth Road.

James, 37, was so moved by her plight after visiting the Newcastle RVI’s cancer ward he decided to do whatever he could to help.

Over the course of four days in September, delivery driver James, of Cusack Crescent, Workington, will run a marathon, row the equivalent of the English channel, swim 2.5 miles and then cycle the 112 miles between the West Cumberland Hospital and the RVI in Newcastle.

James, who has lost several stones since he started training, said: “I came to the cancer ward to visit Emily and when I got home I cried buckets.

“This is my way of giving something back to the ward where she is being treated.

“The pain I go through is nothing compared with what Emily and her family are going though.

“You can’t put a price on a child’s life: I’m not doing it for any glory. I’m doing it purely for Emily and the cancer unit. I also want to raise awareness of the severity of the condition.”

James and his partner Lyndsey Bell are close friends with Emily’s parents Helen Johnson, 34 and Martyn Shutt, 40.

When Helen went into labour, it was James who drove her to the hospital.

Helen said: “James is an absolute star and we would be lost without him.”

He hopes to raise at least £1,000 to be split between the RVI and Emily’s family to cover the expense of travelling backwards andforwards to Newcastle. Emily, who was diagnosed last month, appears tired but soon brightens up when she spots the camera.

She must travel to the RVI once a week for the next two years.

She has already had several lumber punctures and is on an aggressive course of chemotherapy.

She has also put on eight pounds in the last five weeks as a result of the drugs she must take to survive.

Emily’s mum Helen said: “It’s hit all of us but it’s hit Martyn a lot: he’s become withdrawn.

“I won’t cry in case I can’t stop.”

She added that the situation had also been tough on Emily’s four-year-old brother Alfie.

She thanked Learning Land nursery in Workington for their support.

Sponsorship forms are available at Intrim Fitness off Murray Road, Ted’s Gym on John Street andMorrisons.

James is being supported in his training by Lee Rothery, a fitness instructor at Intrim who will complete the events alongside him.

Morrisons staff who have already raised more than £500 for the RVI and Emily through bag-packing and Emily’s grandfather Barrie Shutt has raised £1,000.

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