A group of children from our Infant & Junior School have joined forces to help raise money to find a cure for diabetes, led by their Head Boy who was diagnosed with the condition in January. 10-year-old Oliver Ward’s news inspired him and school friends Hamilton Davies, 11, and Ella Lovejoy-Cornelius, 9, to sign up to the One Million Steps Challenge to raise money for diabetes UK. Having begun with a target of raising £500 they have already raised over three times that amount and are still aiming to gain more sponsorship before the summer.
The young friends’ quest is to complete one million steps each from 1st July to 30th September and they have already received celebrity support on Twitter from England rugby player Henry Slade and Grantchester and McMafia star James Norton, both of whom also have Type 1 diabetes like Oliver.
Oliver had gone to the doctor in January to investigate as he was showing symptoms of the four Ts of Type 1 diabetes – being tired, thirsty, getting thinner and needing the toilet more. Tests showed his blood sugar level was dangerously high and he was taken by ambulance to Frimley hospital where he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. His initial shock and sadness was soon replaced by a determination to do something positive.
Oliver said: “When I found out about my diabetes I was upset, and even more upset to find out there isn’t a cure. My friend Hamilton knew how I was feeling and when he saw about the million steps challenge we wanted to do it as a way of fighting back and helping others – the money we raise will go towards helping everyone with diabetes.”
In the build up to the three month challenge, Olly’s Army are recruiting more pupils, parents and teachers from LVS Ascot. A further eight pupils from Year 2 and upwards have already committed to joining Olly’s Army, along with a group of parents and teachers at the school who will all need to walk at least 10,000 steps each day to stay on target to reach their million steps by the end of September.
Oliver’s dad Matt Ward, who has also joined the challenge team, said: “The fundraising was the pupils’ own idea and they have set everything up with minimal support from parents. It is a great example of the school values being put into practice. The lovely aspect of the initiative is that it has transcended different year groups and inspired a variety of kids – and adults – to get together as a team and work towards a joint goal. It will encourage us all to get more active and help charity in the process.”
Head of the Infant & Junior School Rachael Cox said: “We teach our students about the LVS Ascot Learning Values and Skills which include resilience, initiative, collaboration and empathy, and Olly’s Army have shown all of those in abundance to take the news so well and use it as inspiration to do something so positive. They are a fine example of the students we are developing here and I am hugely proud of them all.”