Emdad Rahman : Enchanting seven year old Kaleigh Lau was the star of the show at the first ever Team Kaleigh 10K Challenge in Redbridge. The community event supported by the iconic Sikhs in the City Running Club was organised to raise additional funds for Kaleigh’s future medical treatments and assist her fight against a rare and incurable brain tumour known as D.I.P.G. (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).
And so a whole host of friends, family and complete strangers united to run a challenging 10K on a blustery winter day and play their part in increasing awareness of this terrible illness which primarily affects young children.
The Team Kaleigh 10K Challenge comprise of 5 laps of an open road course (2.014km per lap) in an anti-clockwise direction and is named after marathon legend Fauja Singh. Celebrated local runners included Jog on Hijabi Lynne Northcott, who is preparing for the London Marathon whilst raising money for a Gambia water project for Penny Appeal, Timi Veerasamy from Dagenham 88 and prolific long distance running legend Harmander Singh took part. The most uplifting moment of the race saw brave Kaleigh take part and complete the course in her wheelchair.
The chief guest – Mayor of Redbridge Councillor Linda Huggett gave a rousing speech before starting the race and was on hand to present medals for every runner. She said: “It’s amazing to see everyone here today and I congratulate every runner for their dedication and human spirit.”
Councillor Huggett also invited runners and our readers to take part in her Redbridge Festive Runs on December 3rd.
Race organiser Jason Li worked tirelessly to ensure a tremendously smooth event. He added: “I’m just relieved the event ran like clockwork. The weather was cold but the sun was out. We had no rain and even little Kaleigh participated. Everyone looks so happy and there is a great spirit of togetherness – It’s been perfect.”
Kaleigh’s Father Scott Lau thanked everyone for their support: “We are very blessed to have so many people come out and support Kaleigh and her determination has spurred us on even more. It’s just been an amazing day.
“We will do whatever it takes to make life easier for Kaleigh and it’s just fantastic that we have so many unbelievable people joining us on this journey.
“I’m really proud of everybody and immensely inspired by my own daughter. This illness hasn’t got a cure at the moment and we want to make a change as Team Kaleigh. It’s been emotional and we are full of pride – Thank you everyone.””
The Team Kaleigh 10K Challenge route was run on Roding Lane South, Woodford Bridge Road and Woodford Avenue with several friendly volunteer Marshalls manning road crossings.
Readers who wish to make a donation should state clearly your full name, add a reference: “TK 10K” with your deposit and if possible an email to email@example.com so that it can be added to the event’s fundraising total.