Peterborough teen’s phenomenal fundraising continues with 26 hour dance-a-thon

A Peterborough teenager’s phenomenal fundraising drive has continued with a 26 hour dance-a-thon.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 4:53 am

Hannah Thompson and mum Julie were left exhausted after throwing some shapes to a range of music from disco favourites to 80 classics over a three day period - one of a number of events the 18-year-old has put on to raise money for Cavernoma Alliance UK where she is now an advocate.

Hannah from Foster Road, Sugar Way, was diagnosed with having multiple cavernous haemangiomas in the summer of 2019, little more than a year after her dad Gary nearly died from the same condition.

Since then she has spoken bravely about how she has been physically and mentally affected by the condition, but despite her illness she has so far raised more than £6,000 with big plans for the future including having her hair shaved off and a raffle.

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Hannah Thompson (right) with mum Julie doing their dance-a-thon

A cavernoma is a cluster of abnormal blood vessels, usually found in the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms that cavernomas can cause vary in severity. Some are seizures, severe headaches, haemorrhagic strokes and neurological problems such as slurred speech.

Hannah, who admitted she cannot wait for her head shave next year, said of the dance-a-thon: “Honestly, I don’t know how I managed! I think I just knew I was doing it for a good cause so I powered through it all.

“I couldn’t move for a few days afterwards. I was in a lot of pain, but it was definitely worth it!”

With Covid scuppering a number of planned fundraisers, Hannah even created a lottery for family and friends which has so far brought in hundreds of pounds.

Hannah's Easter Raffle in April 2020

“It was something my mum used to do a long time ago,” she said. “We originally had the idea to do 100 squares then every week do a random number generator. Then we decided to do a lottery which we’ve been doing for over a year.

“When we first started we would raise £30 a week for charity and the winner would get £30.”

Hannah has defied her ill health - which has included trips to hospital - to study for a teaching degree at Bishop Grosseteste University with the aim of becoming a music therapist.

She said: “It’s difficult. I’m having to get extensions on work because it takes me a lot longer to process and do things, but once I start I’m alright.”

And not only is she defying her condition, by raising awareness of cavernomas through an earlier Peterborough Telegraph article Hannah is helping to make a difference to other people’s lives.

“I’ve had some really positive reactions,” she said. “I’ve met some wonderful people through it who have read it and stopped me in the street. It’s just nice to know people are noticing and it makes me think I’m making a change.”

And as for the future, there are no plans to slow down.

“I won’t be resting, definitely not,” Hannah added. “I just plan to keep going.

“And I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported me.”

Hannah has set herself a challenge to raise £2,500 through her Brave the Shave on March 30, 2022.

Mum Julie said: “It would be great if people could get behind her and donate. It would also be great if any local business or even Peterborough United Football Club were to get behind her and help to promote, support and raise awareness of cavernoma by sponsoring her and making Cavernoma Alliance UK (CAUK) their supporting charity.

“Hannah is currently selling raffle tickets for a spring draw at the end of April. Tickets are £1 a strip and can be purchased by contacting Hannah or me on 07881696067.

“Hannah makes us and her siblings Christopher and Matthew proud every single day and she is a true inspiration to all.”

To make a donation in support of Hannah’s head shave, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=HannahThompson62&pageUrl=1.