Candlelighters Has a Very Brave Fundraiser

A local student has raised over £2,500 in a brave swimming challenge for local Children’s Cancer Charity, Candlelighters.

Rebecca Haestier, a student at Ilkley Grammar, wanted to help raise funds for Candlelighters after seeing the amazing work they do. Rebecca, who has two broken legs in cages, swam 20 lengths at Settle Area Swimming Pool.

Rebecca recently had a cancer scare, but thankfully she got the all-clear. While Rebecca was in Hospital, she was lucky enough to meet the Candlelighters Family Support team at Leeds Children’s Hospital, who provide support to families dealing with a childhood cancer.

Rebecca: “Thankfully everything is ok for me. But while I was in hospital, I met some children who didn’t have such good news. I also had the opportunity to see and experience first hand how wonderful Candlelighters are and the amazing work they do. from having Netflix at your bed to delicious food to tempt you to eat. They were so friendly and supportive and full of joy. They make such a difference to what a scary and overwhelming situation is.

Each year, around 150 children in Yorkshire are diagnosed with cancer. When a child receives a diagnosis, lives are turned upside down in an instant, not just for the child but for their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and extended family. Candlelighters provide financial, emotional, and practical support to children and families affected by childhood cancer across Yorkshire, from diagnosis and for as long as families need it.

Along with support from her mum, dad and sister and friends, Rebecca decided to take on her very own swimming challenge in the hope to raise £200, but not just any ordinary swimming challenge.

In January 2023, Rebecca had both her legs broken and put in external fixators – cages – which makes it very difficult for her to walk and she relies on crutches and a wheelchair to get around. Rebecca decided she wanted to go big and bold, swimming 20 lengths with her legs in cages with mum swimming at her side at their local swimming baths in Settle.

Brave and fearless student Rebecca swam 20 lengths in an amazing 45 minutes, raising an incredible £2,716 for Candlelighters. She celebrated with her family that night with a movie and takeaway. Rebecca is also working with the antibullying team at her school who are going to do some further fundraising for Candlelighters.

Becki Marren, Senior Regional Fundraiser: “I feel so priviledged to support amazing people like Rebecca, who want give back to their local community. The determination and bravery of Rebecca’s challenge is so inspiring and the incredible money she has raised will help pay towards three family holidays, providing them with some much-needed escapism and allowing them to make previous memories together. Rebecca should be so proud of herself.

You can visit Rebecca’s fundraising page here to support her with a donation. You can find out more about the work Candlelighters does to support families in Yorkshire, here.

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