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Mum runs London Marathon for dancer daughter with leukaemia

Passionate ballerina Torri Stranger, who has leukaemia, inspires mum and friends to run the London Marathon for Children with Cancer UK.

15 March 2019

Eight-year-old Torri Stranger from Dorset was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) just days after last year’s London Marathon and has inspired a team of eight to run the event this year. Team Torri has so far raised around £20,000 for Children with Cancer UK.

Torri’s mum and first-time marathon runner Natalie, aged 45, said:

Children with Cancer UK’s focus on investing money into specialist research to help save the lives of children with cancer was the leading factor behind our decision to run for this charity. Research will lead to better and kinder ways of treating cancer that don’t result in children getting so sick.

The vast majority of childhood cancer is treatable but there have been families we’ve met along our journey for which that has not been the case. This can happen to anyone and if we can do something to help other families through this difficult time, then that’s amazing.

Cancer diagnosis happens suddenly and throws you, and your family, into a world where things are really scary. Cancer is something no child should ever have to face.

Children with Cancer UK Head of Fundraising Emily Roff said: “We would like to thank Team Torri for their incredible fundraising efforts. Funding enables us to support life-saving research into the causes, prevention and treatment of childhood cancer to help save the lives of children with cancer and keep their families together.”

Following Torri’s diagnosis last April, the then seven-year-old spent more than two months in Southampton Hospital where she underwent chemotherapy, lumbar punctures and bone marrow tests, as well as an operation for an abscess in her leg.

Today, Torri is on maintenance therapy, which consists of daily oral chemotherapy and monthly intravenous chemotherapy and will complete treatment in August 2020. Despite still being unwell, she has continued to pursue her passion of dance and practices twice a week.

“She has a painful ankle at the moment but she’s doing her best; she’s practicing as often as she can. Dance is her love and her teachers say she has real promise,” Natalie adds.

“Torri will have chemotherapy every day for the next 20 months. She still can’t do all of the things other children can and that’s the side of cancer people don’t understand – it is not just the initial period of treatment, it goes on and on and is life-changing for everyone involved.”

Team Torri – all of whom are novice runners – are taking part in weekly training sessions and have so far completed a 16-mile run.

“Training has been a kind of therapy for me – it takes the leukaemia situation out of my head. The support of others has also been brilliant and just knowing we are doing something to help other children and families going through this in the future makes it all worthwhile,” Natalie commented.