Two young friends ran around Leicester’s King Power stadium last night, as part of their epic 100km challenge for children’s cancer wards across the UK.
Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi have raised £197,502 so far as part of their challenge, which will see them run around 92 football pitches to raise money for children’s oncology departments across the country.
Yesterday (Monday, May 1) they visited their 25th venue; the King Power Stadium home of Leicester City Football Club to raise money for Leicester Hospitals Charity and fundraise for the local children’s oncology wards during the home match against Everton.
Hughie Higginson was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia) in 2020 and began urgent treatment at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Wanting to support his friend, best pal Freddie Xavi set himself a challenge of running 2km every day in the 50 days leading up to Christmas Day 2020 – finishing his challenge live on BBC Breakfast on Christmas Day morning.
Since then, the duo has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Pride of Britain award, and their fundraising has captured the hearts of audiences of both local and national media – helping to propel their fundraising total to more than £300,000 for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.
Now the pair, who are both football fanatics, are doing a 100km challenge together – touring the UK to run 1km around each Premier League and English Football League club.
“I was too poorly to join Freddie on his first challenge, so I’m so excited that this time we get to do it together,” said Hughie, now aged 12. “It’ll be lots of travelling but it’s great that we’ll get to see all the different football grounds.
“There are 92 league clubs in total so that only makes 92km. So we’ll look at maybe doing some national stadiums and some other places to make it up to 100km.”
The boys, who are both from Burnley, started their challenge on Boxing Day in 2021 by running around their favourite ground – Burnley FC’s home at Turf Moor.
Freddie’s mum Sarah Ronan said: “Wherever possible they’d like to do the run just before a game or during half-time, so they have the crowds there watching them.
Ahead of the boys visit to the King Power Stadium, Alan Birchenall, Leicester City Club Ambassador, said: “Hughie and Freddie are two very inspirational young boys, and their fundraising efforts so far have been nothing short of incredible.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming them to King Power Stadium for our game against Everton, where I’m sure our brilliant supporters will give them a fantastic reception during their half-time run.”
Hughie’s mum Katy Higginson said the aim is to raise a minimum of £1,000 for each of the 18 children’s oncology units dotted around the country. She explained: “We want them to be able to buy Slushie Puppies for the children. When the boys first started fundraising that was the first thing they wanted to buy for Hughie’s ward in Manchester.
“When Hughie was first diagnosed and going through the worst of his treatment slushies really helped soothe his throat. Some children get really bad ulcers from the chemo and sometimes they just want something cool to drink.”
Lisa Davies, Director of Leicester Hospitals Charity said: “It’s great that Hughie and Freddie can include Leicester within their challenge. The spotlight at the match will be to raise money for local children’s oncology wards at Leicester’s Hospitals and help fund items that will bring a little comfort to our younger cancer patients during their treatment at the hospital.”
Lisa went on to say: “Thank you to Leicester City Football Club for supporting this challenge and helping us to organise Hughie and Freddie’s fundraising challenge for the local hospitals.”
Since 2021 Hughie and Freddie have run at venues including Burnley FC, Walsall FC, Birmingham City, Bolton, Blackburn Rovers and Wigan, with the King Power Stadium being their 25th stadium to complete.
To donate to Hughie and Freddie’s fundraising visit their Leicester Just Giving Page