Grateful Mari Butt took on the world’s biggest obstacle course to ‘give something back’ to the charity which has helped her daughter survive Leukaemia.
Her brave daughter Annie, was diagnosed with potentially-deadly Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when she was aged just THREE, in July 2014.
Now, still only five, she is nearing the end of an intensive two-year treatment programme which includes daily chemotherapy sessions, weekly blood tests and monthly consultant appointments, due to finish in October this year.
Mum Mari, from Camarthen, is completing a challenge every month to raise money for charity Bloodwise until the treatment is due to stop.
She took on her toughest task yet as she slipped, slid and stumbled over ten tricky obstacles at Gung-Ho! 5k obstacle course, along with 5,000 others at Bute Park on Saturday.
Mari, who was cheered on by Annie as well as husband Arthur and children Alice, 7 and Dylan, 8, said: “The research that the charity does allows them to find different tests to help increase sufferers’ chances of survival.
“In Annie’s case they found the correct test so she was put on the correct medication to reduce her chances of a relapse.
“Her chances of survival would be much less if it wasn’t for what Bloodwise have done. I wanted to show my appreciation for, and give a little something back to, the people who do the research so that even more people like Annie will have better outcomes in future.”
Mari took on her Gung-Ho! challenge alongside sister-in-law Nina Pugh, 36, and friend Karina Williams, 38, and despite finding it tough was pleased to have done it.
She added: “Doing the race was a lot of fun! It was a real team effort and very different from my normal Saturday morning.
“From a parent’s point of view Annie has gone through so much in the past 18 months and you feel like you are going through just a tiny bit of the pain she has experienced to promote and support a brilliant charity.
“When we came down the first slide at the start I saw Annie at the side and she was shouting and screaming which really spurred me on.
“Any child who has cancer seems to have this inner courage and strength and when I was taking part I wanted to find the same things within me.
“She has such a positive, get-on-with-it attitude. She is so brave and has not moaned once – she is always smiling. You would never think she is still having treatment every day.”
Despite the rain, there were smiles all round from runners young and old who conquered the course, which included Europe’s tallest inflatable slide and the world’s biggest bouncy inflatable.
The course is the brainchild of Cbeebies presenter Alex Winters, who hails from Cardiff and was proud to have Mari run the race for Bloodline and have Annie watching on.
He said: “I feel grateful – almost privileged – that Gung-Ho! was one of Mari’s chosen challenges.
“What a wonderful, courageous thing to do. I think when you have experience something like she has – these are the sorts of experiences that drive people to do wonderful things.
“I love that there are events around like Gung-Ho! that are fun but give people an outlet to do extraordinary things.”
Mari has already raised around £4,500 by completing challenges including a 5k Muddy Mountain run, a St David’s Day run a 5km walk.
To donate to Bloodwise or find out more about Mari’s challenges please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Annie-Butt-10Months?utm_id=25.
Cardiff was the fourth in a series of 12 Gung-Ho! events across the country in 2016, with up to 60,000 people expected to take part in total.
Tickets and more information about coming events are available at www.begung-ho.co.uk. Check out Gung-Ho! updates by searching ‘Gung-Ho! on Facebook and on Twitter, at @begungho.
Runners, who must be at least 4ft tall, receive a free bib with race number, Gung-Ho! t-shirt and headband, while any spectators can attend for free and enjoy the food stalls and music.