A young Peterborough woman is braving the winter chill to support the children’s hospital which saved her cousin.
Hannah Viner (18) is today (15 January) beginning a 100 mile, four day, walk from Thorpe Lea Road in Peterborough to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London.
Hannah is fundraising for the hospital which diagnosed her cousin Cayla Viner (14) with a severe respiratory condition said to affect only a few people in the world each year.
After being transferred to Great Ormond Street as a baby, the hospital discovered Cayla was suffering from multiple pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, meaning her lungs cannot absorb oxygen.
The diagnosis has kept her alive but she requires additional oxygen 23 hours a day and wears an oxygen backpack when she is away from her home.
Hannah, who lives in Camden Town, London, decided to take on her challenge in September after thinking of ways to support the hospital.
She said: “Ever since I knew I was taking a gap year I knew I wanted to do something for charity.
“I wanted to do something that was a bit more challenging and meaningful.
“Friends and family have been really supportive. I’m surprised at the response I’ve had from everybody. They think it’s a really good thing but also that I’m a bit mad!
“I’m a bit worried about the cold but I’ve got lots of layers.”
The walk is called from ‘POSH to GOSH’ as Peterborough United has supported Hannah through its website and matchday programme.
Hannah will stay overnight at camp sites and even in one person’s garden in between her eight hour walks each day.
Her walking will be made even more difficult as she will carry on her back the equivalent weight of Cayla’s oxygen machine.
Cayla, though, will be the motivation through all of this.
“We spend summers and holidays together and I went with her to Rome for a school trip,” she said.
“She’s bubbly, very kind and enthusiastic.”
Hannah will be joined in the last leg of her walk by around 40 people, but the challenge before then is a daunting one.
She added: “I’m definitely nervous but really excited. I’ve never done anything like this before.
“The first thing I’ll do when I finish is take my boots off and have a nice cup of tea and lots of Rich Tea biscuits!”
King’s School pupil Cayla, who lives in Thorpe Lea Road, said: “We are really close.
“It’s really inspiring to see Hannah to take on a huge challenge like this for a charity that means so much.”
She added: “Without Great Ormond Street I would not be here. I’m forever grateful for what they have done.”
To sponsor Hannah visit www.justgiving.com/Hannah-Viner/.