A group of friends have taken on a fundraising challenge for Cancer Research UK in memory of their friend who passed away five years ago following a battle with leukemia.
The friends of Talitha ‘Tally’ Leigh have been honouring the late teens memory since she passed away in 2015 aged 13.
Project T began when Tally, of Leek, was still alive, and has now become somewhat of a global phenomenon, with friends and strangers alike spotting the letter T all over the world and sharing photos on social media.
Tally’s closest friends have constantly gone the extra mile to remember the brave teenager by raising funds for Cancer Research UK.
Charlotte Townsend, Erin O’Shea and Owen Culleton, all aged 17, have taken on various challenges including Cancer Research’s Relay For Life. The event was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the teenagers from taking on a challenge of their own.
Charlotte, Erin and Owen, who call themselves Team Tally, decided to take on a 40 mile hike in the space of 24 hours from August 15 to August 16 which sent them on a journey across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
They were supported along the way by friends Max Critchlow and Zeb Hartmann, both also 17, who joined them for some of the miles.
Team Tally have now been nominated for an Our Heroes Award in the Bright Young Thing category.
Charlotte, from Birchall, said: “Project T has grown beyond what we ever expected it to. When Tally was still alive we made a photobook full of the pictures for her birthday, and it really has just grown and grown.
“We have taken on Race For Life and Relay For Life and I have also donated my hair to the Little Princess Trust. But this year, with the current circumstances and Relay For Life being cancelled, we wanted to do something different.”
Owen , from Leek, said: “We wanted to bear in mind Covid-19 restrictions and make sure we were staying safe. My dad helped a lot with our planning of the times and routes. We wanted to keep it as flat as possible! We basically did a tour of the canals of Staffordshire.
“Charlotte and I did two training walks so when we took on the actual hike, there were only about four miles that we hadn’t done.”
The trio have raised more than £2,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Charlotte said: “We had raised nearly £1,000 before we even started and we couldn’t believe it – we kept texting each other as it went up. Then when we were doing the walk we had so many more donations – it really spurred us on when we were tired and in need of chocolate!”
Erin O’Shea now lives in Peterborough but travelled back to Staffordshire to take part.
Erin said: “The hike was the most exciting, painful and emotional experience I have ever had, and probably will have for years to come.
“The opportunity to come back to Leek and participate with two of my long term friends was great, and the support we received along the way made the journey possible – through pit stops, donations and kind messages.
“Ultimately we completed this challenge for Tally, and the thought of her gave me the strength to make it to the end. I am forever grateful for being able to take part in this event, and I am proud of us all for pushing ourselves to our limits and raising the incredible amount of money we did for such an awesome cause.”
Charlotte added: “When I really needed a boost on the walk, I just thought of Tally and her strength. When she was ill she never let on that she was struggling, she was just so strong and always had a massive, bubbly smile on her face. She’s always an inspiration to us.”
You can support the teenagers’ fundraising for Cancer Research UK here.
Readers who want to make a nomination for the Our Heroes Awards should email firstname.lastname@example.org with Our Heroes in the subject box.