#fundraiserfriday: 700 miles in 7 days at 70 years old

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Today’s #fundraiserfriday star is from a grandfather, Stewart Renfrew, taking on a 700 mile challenge to raise money for charities which help children like his granddaughter, 6-year-old Fabienne.


Stewart tells us that his granddaughter Fabienne was born in Dec 2010 with Down’s Syndrome (Trisomy 21), cataracts in both eyes and other more minor medical problems. The cataracts required the removal of the natural lenses of her eyes and replacement with artificial ones, which has resulted in Fabienne having limited vision with glasses.

At a just over 1-year-old, following several bouts of the usual winter ‘sniffles’, Fabienne contracted pneumonia and shortly before her 4th birthday, she was diagnosed as having Actute Lynphoblastic Leukemia; all this yet she still remains able to attend a mainstream primary school, enjoys all opportunities life offers her and has many friends in and out of school. Stewart tells us:

“Despite the significant number of medical and life challenges Fabienne has faced, she remains an energetic, fun-loving personality, whose spontaneous enthusiasm and joyousness cheers up others and inspires them to forget their own relatively minor problems.”

The Challenge

Stewart will be turning 70 on 30 June and has decided to celebrate this milestone birthday in a very unique way; he is going to cycle 700 miles (1127 kilometres) through France, from Saint Malo on the English Channel, to Narbonne Plage on the Mediterranean. He tells us

My ‘700@70in7’, between midday Sunday 26 June amd midday Sunday 3 July 2016 (7 days), will be to raise money for charities which provide help for children facing conditions which threaten their life or the quality of their life.”

Stewart is being supported by several of his friends on his 700@70in7 challenge – cycling the incredible 700 miles with Stewart will be Francis Saunders, 69, and Joe Gooding, 35, and driving his car in support of the cyclists will be Neil Gillespie. Stewart makes it clear that although the 700@70in7 challenge is called so because he will be 70 at the time of the challenge, Francis and Joe will be undertaking the same challenge and so a donation to the page is in support of the whole team.

The charities

Stewart will be undertaking this challenge for two fantastic charities. The first of these is the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA). DSA proudly state that they are “the for fabienneonly organisation in this country focusing solely on all aspects of living successfully with Down’s syndrome“. Opened in 1970, the charity has grown from being a local parent support group into a national charity with over 20,000 members. The charity runs a helpline for people whose lives are touched by Down Syndrome, provide information about all aspects of living with Down’s syndrome, advise on employment for people with Down’s syndrome and much, much more.

The second charity that Stewart will be fundraising for is CLIC Sargent. CLIC Sargent point out that, shockingly, 10 children and young people are told every day that they have cancer. CLIC Sargent’s say their mission is “to change what it means to be diagnosed with cancer when you’re young“. The charity provides vital emotional, practical and financial support to young cancer patients and families during and after treatment.

Stewart points out that these charities aid children who have experienced both these conditions, but also help the parents of these children to cope with the news of the threat to their children’s welfare.

How you can help

You can support Stewart’s fundraising for these fantastic charities, and therefore help thousands of children affected by the conditions mentioned, by donating to his Virgin Money Giving page.

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