A dad is taking on a mammoth fundraising challenge to raise money in memory of his cheeky and beautiful daughter who tragically lost her life last year.
In January 2021 Amelia Davies, eight, tragically died just mere months after she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.
Devastated, her loving parents have devoted their time to raising money for Neuroblastoma UK in the hope that other families will not suffer the same agonizing heartbreak, Teesside Live reports.
In continuing to share the Darlington youngster’s story, they hope to raise awareness of the symptoms of neuroblastoma so other parents know what to look out for.
Now her dad, Danny Hill, and a team of fundraisers are getting ready to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge which is a 24-mile endurance course with a total ascent of 1381m which must be completed in 12 hours.
It follows a five day trek Danny and friends completed along Hadrian’s Wall last year as Amelia’s family have raised close to the £10,000 mark in her memory.
“It’s so other families hopefully won’t have to go through what we have,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s also about finding better treatments – what my daughter went through was horrible to see.
“We are trying to fund the charity as much as we can to find better treatments for children who are diagnosed with neuroblastoma and raise some awareness. Amelia was so cheeky, proper mouthy and sarcastic.
“She was funny to be around, she loved swimming and she’d started to learn how to play the ukulele before she got ill.”
The Polam Hall pupil had suffered with stomach pains and constipation in August 2020 with mum Rhiannon Davies contacting the doctors believing at first she may have developed a dietary intolerance. She was referred for scans at Darlington Memorial Hospital and a day later Rhiannon received a call to say they needed to bring Amelia in for further investigation.
But there they received the devastating news that doctors had discovered an 11cm tumor near the eight-year-old’s left kidney. They were transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where tests found some cancerous cells in the tumor and she was booked in for an operation.
But medical staff ran further tests which showed the cancerous cells had spread to her bone marrow and Amelia was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma on October 31, 2020. The youngster, who was ‘always smiling’, started chemotherapy days later and underwent different types of treatment every ten days for eight sessions – which took its toll on the little girl.
Speaking to Darlington Live previously, mum Rhiannon said: “The treatment was working and the tumor had shrunk by 4cm and there wasn’t any cancer cells in her bone marrow. It was all going in the right direction.”
As her family prepared for Amelia to be discharged, her condition suddenly worsened during a potassium infusion. Amelia went into cardiac arrest and Rhiannon and Danny waited while doctors worked tirelessly to revive her.
They were told Amelia’s heart had started working again and she would be taken to the intensive care unit but then the unimaginable happened.
Rhiannon said: “We were sat for what felt like forever, the doctors came and told us she had passed away. Even though they had been able to bring her back around her brain had been starved of oxygen for 45 minutes. You don’t expect you’re ever going to hear that.”
After her tragic passing, her parents were initially told post-mortem results would take 12 weeks but over a year later they’re still waiting for definitive answers.
“We’ve had the reports back from the coroner and they’ve given us a temporary death certificate. They’re doing a few more tests on bloods that were taken from Amelia,” said Danny, who works at Cummins.
“We’ve had a brief answer that Amelia’s heart gave in to the treatment but we don’t know for definite. We should hopefully find out at an inquest in June.
“It’s about all of us coming together to find the final answer, it’s not like there is anyone to blame. But it’s about getting an answer and giving us some more closure.”
On Good Friday, Danny and a team of nine fundraisers will take on the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge and have already raised more than £600 for Neuroblastoma UK.
“We’re trying to keep busy doing charity events. All together I think we’ve raised close to £10,000 for the charity from all the different events we’ve had,” said Danny.
“We’ve just hit £500 which is the target but we’re trying to exceed that. A few of the lads from work and a couple of friends.
“I’m quite excited for it, I’ve been going on a few practice walks in the lakes and been going to the gym but I’m probably not as fit as I should be. We’re going to try and do our best.”
Last year, on what would have been Amelia’s ninth birthday loved ones headed to her favorite place, Skegness, as they paid tribute to the little girl. Danny added: “We scattered her ashes from her at the beach at Skegness. It was a very emotional day, me and Rhiannon went so far into the sea together to scatter her ashes and put some blue and purple flowers in the sea.
“As we were coming out about 10 meters from where we were a baby seals head popped out of the water. It was a touching and emotional moment.
“We had all our family around us. When she was ill I put some money away and told her I’d take her anywhere she wanted to go and she said Skegness. I thought about somewhere in Spain or something but she wanted to go to Skeggy. She loved it there.”
To donate to Danny’s fundraiser click here.
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.