‘I’ll always be really grateful’: Teen’s marathon challenge after serious injury

Lily Smith after completing the first of seven marathons with her mum Julie. Picture: The Smith fami

Lily Smith after completing the first of seven marathons with her mum Julie. Picture: The Smith family - Credit: Archant

A teenager has embarked on a marathon challenge – a year after suffering serious leg injuries in a freak sporting accident.

Lily Smith, and her mum Julie, are running seven marathons for the Raise a Rainbow appeal. Picture:

Lily Smith, and her mum Julie, are running seven marathons for the Raise a Rainbow appeal. Picture: The Smith family - Credit: Archant

In May last year, Lily Smith needed complex surgery after suffering a severe tri fracture to her right tibia and growth plate that led to her being in a full leg plaster cast for seven weeks.

With Lily’s family “forever indebted” to the care she received at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, and after the high school student had made a full recovery, they decided they wanted to give something back to the NHS.

Since last Wednesday – a year on from her accident – Lily and her mum Julie have embarked on a marathon challenge.

The mother and daughter will be running the 26.2-mile distance of a marathon between them each week for the duration of her seven-week recovery period.

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Lily’s parents, Julie and Justin Smith, of Lowestoft, said: “Given the magnitude of challenges that the NHS currently face, and knowing from our own experiences how incredibly caring our doctors and nurses are, it seemed only right that with the anniversary of Lily’s accident we set our own challenge in the hope of being able to give something back.

“We are forever indebted to the James Paget Hospital for the expert care Lily received.

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“The Raise a Rainbow appeal aims to improve the experience of children and their families when having to visit the hospital at an unexpected time in their lives.

“If we can help the charity on its way to achieving its target; it is worth our every effort.”

On May 20 last year the Smith’s were sitting in the A&E department of the James Paget Hospital after Lily’s sporting accident.

Mrs Smith, a teacher at Gunton Primary Academy, said: “It was made very clear to us that Lily would need surgery once the surgeon could work out how best to fix it.

“They had never seen anything like it before.

“Following more than two hours of surgery, Lily spent the next three days trying to manage the pain and cope with a full leg cast. This became her loyal companion for the next seven weeks!

“A year on, Lily is back to full fitness and thankfully will have no long-lasting effects.”

After completing her first marathon, Lily – a Year 9 student at Benjamin Britten Music Academy in Lowestoft – said: “I have never done anything like this before.

“It’s hard work but I’m enjoying the challenge!

“The doctors and nurses were so caring during my time in hospital; I’ll always be really grateful for everything they did for me.”

Raise a Rainbow appeal

With six weeks of the marathon challenge now remaining, it means that Lily and her mum still have six more marathons to complete each week.

Mrs Smith said: “Lily will run the distance of 6.2 miles every week and I will cover the remaining 20 miles.

“It’s something that neither of us has ever attempted before but feel in this current climate that we can offer our support to such an amazing cause.”

With various routes planned for the Smith’s marathon challenge, Mrs Smith added: “We would appreciate any support you can give, even if it’s simply cheering us on as we run around the town.

“Any money raised is going to the hospital’s Raise a Rainbow appeal, which is aiming to provide a purpose built Bereavement area in the Accident and Emergency Department for families being given the worst news of their lives and to also create a special area in A&E for children.”

Visit www.jpaget-charity.org.uk/fundraisers/lilys-marathon-challenge for further details and to pledge your support.

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