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  • Writer's pictureMummy's Star

Fantastic Fundraiser: Danielle

This International Women's Day we are celebrating an incredible fundraiser and her conquering the Winter Spine Race 2024

Danielle contacted us at the end of 2023 saying she wanted to fundraise for Mummy's Star. Imagine our amazement when we discovered she would take on the Montane Winter Spine Race - the toughest endurance race in the world!

After supporting the race for a number of years, Danielle was lucky enough to win a spot on the 2024 event and decided to take on the non-stop, 268 mile race along the iconic Pennine Way.

"Taking the challenge on myself [felt] ridiculous. But, as my Mum has said, I'll never know what I can do until I have a go.

She would be travelling through sixteen hours of darkness a day, and face storm force winds and sub zero temperatures. The route includes 10,000 meters of elevation and crosses some of the most beautiful but difficult terrain in England, including the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviots.

For motivation, Danielle decided to ask for sponsorship from friends and family to raise funds for Mummy's Star.

"You helped my best friend when she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back and she said the support made her feel not alone during an obviously really awful time.
So I knew I'd always raise some money for Mummy's Star when the right challenge came along. I’m so thankful that charities like you are around to help people like my friend, Sarah. So thank you!"

Danielle trained hard and was set with lots of Mummy's Star goodies as well as the food, water and kit she would need to eat, sleep and move along the route for up to seven days.

As soon as she set off, the Mummy's Star Team started watching her 'dot' along the electronic tracking map that monitored all the participants throughout the race. For a whole week we and many of Danielle's family and friends were glued to her progress, along with hundreds of strangers. She was left so many messages of support, including quotes from mums we had supported, to help her push through the difficult moments.

The weather was freezing, at times stormy and plagued with intense winds. But Danielle could not be stopped. Slowly and steadily she moved closer to the finish line, ticking off check points and snatching sleep for a few hours each night.

"The sleep deprivation was the worst! I slept maybe 10 hours over 6 nights so there were lots of time where my brain played tricks on me. Lots of seeing sleeping animals, signposts that weren't actually there, and some weirder things like Roman soldiers and Ant and Dec's faces in a leaf!" 

Danielle completed the Spine in a fantastic 156 hours and 39 minutes. Her family and Sarah were waiting at the finish line to welcome her in and celebrate her incredible achievement.

But what surprised her most about the whole thing?

"That I had this unshakeable focus and from the second day I knew I would finish it. It meant I really did enjoy the whole experience.
That and the fact that my fingers didn't freeze in - 20 degree windchill. I didn't actually feel cold at all and that was something I was sure would happen. The months of kit research paid off!"

While her initial fundraising ask was a modest £268 - £1 for each mile she would travel - her fundraising page eventually raised over £4000 (including Gift Aid)! Not only will her incredible efforts leave her with incredible memories, but they will also have a huge and meaningful impact on the lives of mums and birthing parents diagnosed with cancer in or around pregnancy.

We are so grateful to Danielle, and everyone who supported her, for helping to raise awareness of Mummy's Star while participating in this amazing challenge!

Danielle is a true inspiration, with the same unshakeable determination, generosity and strength of spirit that so many of our mums and families exhibit each day.

Thank you Danielle!

Photos from Montane Spine Race and Danielle & family



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