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From a cancer diagnosis to fundraising heroes – the inspiring journey of Matt and Lily

Meet the incredible father-daughter duo who are raising funds for The Christie Hospital.

In an awe-inspiring display of courage and determination, 10-year-old Lily Heywood, hailing from  Buxton, has embarked on an extraordinary mission to raise funds for The Christie Hospital, the very institution that provided life-saving care for her beloved dad, Matt.

Matt’s Extraordinary Journey to Recovery

Matt’s journey through adversity began when he underwent major surgery to halt the further spread of melanoma.

This courageous battle was followed by a gruelling 12-month treatment regimen for skin cancer, which had extended its reach into his lymph nodes.

What truly sets Matt apart is his unwavering resolve to advance the cause of early melanoma detection, as he voluntarily enrolled in a clinical trial involving pioneering blood tests.

Conquering the Spanish Three Peaks

Upon receiving the cherished ‘all-clear’ verdict, Matt, a gifted kitchen designer, felt an overwhelming urge to give back to the hospital that had played a pivotal role in his recovery.

With this mission in mind, he embarked on an inspiring journey to raise funds for The Christie Charity.

This remarkable journey saw him conquer the Spanish Three Peaks, a challenging trek through Spain’s awe-inspiring Sierra Nevada National Park, which he successfully completed just last weekend.

The Christie Challenge’ – A Test of Determination

Undeterred by the monumental task he had already achieved, Matt decided to embrace ‘The Christie Challenge.’

This unique initiative involves conquering six diverse fundraising activities over the course of a year, with each challenge aimed at raising at least £60.

These activities, when completed, grant fundraisers a medal that beautifully interlocks to create the iconic rainbow Christie embraces.

Lily’s Inspiring Involvement

During this awe-inspiring journey, Matt ran a half marathon and brought his daughter Lily along for the ride.

This experience left an huge mark on Lily’s heart, and she couldn’t help but ask her father, “Daddy, what can I do to help?”

Lily’s Remarkable Fundraising Prowess

From that moment, Lily committed herself to her own Christie Challenge, combining it with ’60 for The Christie,’ a fundraising initiative specially designed for young people and schools, urging children to partake in an activity involving the number 60.

This symbolic figure represents the average distance that a cancer patient in the UK travels for treatment.

Unveiling Lily’s Ambitious Fundraising Goals

Lily wasted no time in brainstorming incredible fundraising ideas.

She set ambitious targets for herself, vowing to complete 60 miles of running (equivalent to 540 laps around her playground), a 60-mile bike ride, swimming 60 lengths, hiking 60 miles, and even conquering the formidable Mount Snowdon, standing tall at 3,560 feet.

Remarkably, she conquered them all.

Now, Lily is gearing up for her final challenge: a 5K run at MediaCityUK, slated for Thursday, September 28th at 7 pm.

A Proud Father’s Perspective

With Matt now in remission, he couldn’t be prouder of Lily’s unwavering commitment and tenacity.

Her school, St. Anne’s Primary School in Buxton, was so impressed that they donated £100, profoundly moved by Lily’s positive attitude and boundless stamina.

The Grand Finale – MediaCityUK 5K Run

As the completion of ‘The Christie Challenge’ draws near, Lily readies herself for her grand finale—a 5K run at MediaCityUK, taking in the stunning sights of The Lowry Theatre, The Imperial War Museum, and the BBC and ITV Studios.

Matt’s parents, along with Lily’s mom, Nikki, and younger sister Maya, are all eagerly looking forward to cheering them on and witnessing Lily receive her well-deserved Christie Challenge jigsaw medal.

The Christie Charity Expresses Gratitude

Josh Hughff from The Christie Charity expressed his admiration, saying, “Lily is an absolute star.

“We are incredibly impressed with the fundraising challenges she has set for herself. Her determination and commitment to support The Christie Charity are nothing short of amazing.

“Lily possesses a tenacity and determination that far exceeds her years.

“We couldn’t be more thankful for Lily and her dad Matt’s unwavering support.”

Join Lily and Matt in Their Journey of Hope

To date, Lily and Matt have raised over an astounding £6,000 for The Christie Charity.

If you’d like to contribute to their noble cause, please visit their JustGiving page here.

A Young Champion of Hope

Lily Heywood’s incredible journey is a massive inspiration and testament to the power of determination, love, and unwavering support for a cause that touches the hearts of many.

Her dedication reminds us all that age is no barrier when it comes to making a positive impact in the world.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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