A YOUNG Barry girl battled strong winds to conquer a mountain in memory of her grandad.
Six-year-old Sophie Lewis, from Barry, was always asking her family if they could visit Pen y Fan where her grandad Les Bartlett’s ashes were scattered after he was “struck down” by aplastic anaemia when Sophie was just nine months old.
Mr Bartlett has been fit and healthy, having served in the army for 35 years, but developed the condition – in which the bone marrow and stem cells don’t produce enough blood cells – and was too unwell for a transplant by the time a donor was found.
His ashes were scattered at the top of Pen y Fan as his family thought “he would be in good company with the other soldiers”.
On the six-year anniversary of his death, Sophie took her first trip up Pen Y Fan, raising hundreds for charity in the process.
Her mother, Kathryn Lewis, said: “Sophie had been asking to go for a while and we thought it would be a good opportunity for her inaugural trip to be for a good cause.
“It was the first fundraiser Sophie has done and she was fantastic – she had no issues, despite the weather. There were cold winds, but she was quite happy to battle through it.
“She put one foot in front of the other and put on a brave happy face.
“We’re so proud of her – not just for getting up there, but for her attitude; she’s sold toys and clothes [for charity] and told her friends and family about it so they can donate.”
Sophie raised more than £500 from her endeavour with the money donated to the charity Anthony Nolan which had found Mr Bartlett a bone marrow donor, although he was too unwell to receive it.
Her fundraising page is available here.
Kathryn Lewis hopes her daughter’s charity challenge will also encourage people to sign up on the Bone Marrow Registry and potentially save lives.
“My dad was fit and healthy, he played rugby and served in the army for 35 years – but he was literally struck down,” said Ms Lewis.
“Without donors there’s no hope; my dad would have had a shot if given a transplant and I know that the BAME community has even less donors.
“It’s important that as many people as possible sign-up to give somebody somewhere hope and a chance of life.”