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24-hour 100 kilometre challenge to help four-year-old achieve her dream of walking

A Coventry mum is taking on a 100KM in 24 hours walk to help her four-year-old daughter achieve her dream of walking.

Effie Middleton has triplegic cerebral palsy which affects her lower limbs and upper left limb, meaning she is unable to walk or stand up unaided. This, in turn, affects other aspects of her life and health including blood circulation, digestion and sleep.

She has recently been lent an Innowalk which allowed her to exercise daily, feel the motion of walking and build up her muscles and strength. Her mum Ellena, 29, is now hoping to raise £33,000 to buy Effie one of her own.

Ellena said: ‘Effie adored the Innowalk – I could barely get her out of it! It works a little like a motorized cross-trainer. If she had one of her own it would do so much for her, improving her muscle strength, flexibility and independence, as well as all the other health benefits which come with being able to stand and move in an upright position.’

The family has already raised almost £8,000 from a danceathon held at Effie’s nursery, Cheylesmore Pre-School and donations from friends, family and well-wishers. Ellena and partner Ben Harris, a heating supervisor are taking on the 100km Thames Path Ultra Challenge from Putney Bridge to Henley-on-Thames next month.

Ellena said: ‘We have been training by taking longer and longer walks – we walked 20 miles this weekend. I’m not usually one for hiking but it is growing on me! It will certainly be a challenge – we are doing it for Effie.’

Meantime Ben’s mum Caroline Berwick, recently retired professional cake maker is offering the chance to ‘Win Your Wedding Cake’ for a 2024 wedding within 25 miles of Stratford-Upon-Avon – entry costs £10 at

Ellena added: ‘Effie is a typical little girl who likes doing all the things that most girls of her age enjoy, singing, dancing, role playing, messing around with toys. She’s very inquisitive and looking forward to starting school this year. An Innowalk would dramatically improve her independence and quality of life and we are really grateful for any support people can give in helping us buy one for her.’

The family is being supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope which helps families fundraise for children like Effie with healthcare needs, where the NHS can’t support and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.

Gill Gibb, Tree of Hope CEO said: ‘We wish Ellena and Ben all the best with their impressive challenge and the family with their ongoing fundraising for Effie.’

To sponsor Ellena and Ben or to donate to Effie’s fund visit or

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