From left to right: Gareth, Cameron, Joanne, Megan and Gracie
The Nye family will be taking on the 'Power to the Tower' challenge on 23 July, walking from their home to Blackpool to raise funds for Diabetes UK and Child Bereavement UK for their daughters Megan and Gracie.
Gareth and Joanne Nye are raising funds for both charities after Megan, 13, lost her dad Ian in March 2019, just five months after her little sister Gracie, five, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Mum Joanne, 34, said: “When Megan lost her dad it was a complete shock to all of us. At no point could we ever imagine this happening, but it left a nine-year-old girl without a parent and happened just after her little sister’s diagnosis, which also rocked the family.
“Megan and Gracie have shown so much strength and bravery over the past few years, after going through some incredibly tough and trying times. We wanted to do something for them and to help any other families who might be struggling through the same experiences.”
The team of 15, which includes family and friends, will leave Newton-le-Willows at 6am. The route will take them to Wigan, Preston and on to the seaside town where they’ll cross the finish line around 14 hours later at Blackpool Central Pier. They’ll also be joined by supporters who’ll be cheering them on along the 40-mile route.
The idea for the challenge came during a family trip to Blackpool to see the famous illuminations at the end of last year.
Gareth, 31, says: “We had typed Blackpool into the sat nav and the first route it came up with told us how long it would take us to walk the distance. I said to Joanne, we could do that. Why don’t we do that? And here we are!”
He adds: “It’s taken a lot of planning but we’re almost there. It’s a little bit daunting but we’re also really looking forward to it. The walk will be tough but all the support from family and friends will make it a memorable day too. The hard work is worth it if we can help anyone going through what we have.”
Clare Howarth, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK said: “We are extremely grateful to Joanne, Gareth, Megan, Gracie, little brother Cameron and all their family and friends for taking on this inspirational challenge. We’ve been incredibly moved with how open they continue to be in sharing their experiences in the hope of helping other families affected not just by diabetes but the loss of a loved one.
“A massive thank you to everyone involved in this epic challenge and we look forward to celebrating their efforts along the route.”
Sebastian Farrell, Senior Community Fundraiser for Child Bereavement UK said: “We’re very grateful to the Nye family and their friends for taking on this amazing fundraising challenge to raise awareness of the impacts of diabetes and bereavement. The funds they raise will help us to support other bereaved families to rebuild their lives.
“We can’t wait to cheer them on along the route!”
Support the family's efforts on their JustGiving page.