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Blake Harman, 27, and Beth Smith, 18, have cycled, run and walked a mammoth 2,000 miles in May in memory of Holly Edwards, who sadly passed away aged 22.
The pair have already raised a fantastic £445 for St Barnabas House, who cared for Holly both at her home and at the hospice during her battle with sarcoma, a very rare cancer which affected Holly’s bones and soft tissue. Holly sadly died at the hospice in May 2019.
Blake’s inspiration for the charity challenge came from his sister, Paige, and her friendship with Holly. He says, “Holly was a fighter and the most genuine person you could ever meet. She was such an inspirational person in my sister’s life. The heartbreak Paige went through when she lost her best friend had a massive effect on her.”
Lockdown restrictions meant that a charity football match organised by Blake’s sister, in memory of her best friend had to be cancelled.
Determined to find another way to support his sister through her grief and raise money for the hospice, Blake says, “The idea came to me late one night. I messaged my friend Beth and she agreed to join me. We were both half asleep and I don’t think we realised what a crazy distance we had committed to take on!”
Blake, who lives in North Lancing and Beth, who lives in Steyning, have cycled, walked and run over 66 miles a day between them throughout May, making the most of home exercise bikes when outdoor exercise was restricted during lockdown.
The pair met up on Wednesday 27 May to cycle the last 40-mile leg together, two metres apart, and are thrilled to have completed their 2,000-mile target before the end of the month.
Blake says, “It’s the hardest challenge that Beth and I have taken on. We’re both exhausted and ache so badly, but we’re really happy to have completed the distance and finished early.”
Blake’s sister, Paige Harman, 22 says, “I’d like to thank both my brother and Beth and everyone who has donated for helping to raise money and awareness for Holly.
“I saw for myself how high the quality of care is at St Barnabas and I know Holly and her family appreciated everything the team did to help her through such a hard time.
“Holly was the biggest part of my life and losing her was heart-breaking. Before she passed away, she asked us to raise money for St Barnabas in her memory, so that’s exactly what my family and I will continue to do every year!”
It’s not too late to make a donation. Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/BlakeHarman to show your support.