Telegraph Column: Inspirational teen takes on fitness challenge

Sheffield Children's Hospital  - an artist's impression of what the completed building will look like
Sheffield Children's Hospital - an artist's impression of what the completed building will look like

In December 2008, just before my 10th birthday, I was diagnosed with a rare, benign brain tumour.

On that day I began treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Since being diagnosed, I have had numerous operations and long stays in hospital.

I still go back for monthly check-ups and the treatment I receive there is second to none. After my first stay, I decided I wanted to fundraise to try and give something back, as a thank you.

From the day of my diagnosis, the hospital and its charity have become a significant part of my life.

Leaving hospital is always a happy moment - however, for me, I felt sad for those who couldn’t. This made me even more determined to support the charity.

So far, I have raised £25,000 through events such as auctions, cake sales and fun runs. When I heard about the Virtual Stampede challenge, where you run, walk, swim or cycle a total of 60km in September, I felt it was a great opportunity to raise even more.

The event is funding two physiotherapy rooms for the new build of the hospital which will be full of specialist equipment.

This will improve the already fantastic hospital, making stays much more fun and comfortable for patients. These rooms would have really benefitted me during my treatment, as I wouldn’t have had to do my physiotherapy on the ward – I think privacy is key for recovery!

As well as walking 60km throughout September I will be cycling 60km at my local gym, Queens Park Sports Centre in Chesterfield, on September 18.

I will be doing all of this with the great support of my ‘herd’ of friends and family.

Initially, I set myself an ambitious target of raising £1,000 for my challenge. After receiving a great response, I have already achieved 80 per cent of this goal.

I now hope to not only reach but to exceed the £1,000 mark.

More information about my Virtual Stampede can be found on my Virgin Money Giving Page, entitled ‘George Marriott’.

I feel that the Herd of Sheffield sculpture trail is a fantastic opportunity for people to explore our wonderful city, while supporting the fantastic work this hospital does.

I will be starting my Virtual Stampede Challenge today (Thursday, September 1), and there is still time to sign up if you’d like to join me in helping this amazing hospital.

Visit to support the fundraising.

Or log on to to sponsor George.