Schoolchildren go for gold for their pal Reece from Overton

Former schoolpals of Overton teenager Reece Holt who died of cancer in 2019 will be doing a 13 mile bike ride to raise funds for his charity Team Reece.
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Twelve pupils who left Overton St Helen's School in 2017 at the same time as Reece will be donning the Team Reece gold colours, facepainting a T or an R on their cheeks and cycling 13 miles up and down Morecambe promenade.

Organiser Emma Carter's son Ben knew Reece and his mum Rachel and followed Reece's journey before and after he passed away.

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Emma said: "A couple of weeks ago, my son Ben came to me and said “Mum, have you seen the video Rachel has posted on Facebook?” We sat together and watched Rachel tell people what is was like to wake up every day without Reece and the struggles she faces every day.

Reece Holt from Overton set up a charity Team Reece to help other children and families affected by childhood cancer.Reece Holt from Overton set up a charity Team Reece to help other children and families affected by childhood cancer.
Reece Holt from Overton set up a charity Team Reece to help other children and families affected by childhood cancer.

"With tears in my eyes, I knew I couldn’t just wipe them away and carry on. I had to do something to help; so here we are.

"Because Ben had been to school with Reece, I thought it would be nice to involve him and get as many of the old primary school class together as possible, to raise some money for a friend of theirs that was taken far too soon.

"So we had a think about what we could do and with #forever13 in mind, we came up with the idea of doing a 13 mile bike ride.

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"September 13 is a Sunday and we’re going to set them off at 13:00 hrs. I wanted to do it in September with it being childhood cancer awareness month because it’s not only about raising money for Team Reece but also raising awareness.

Reece Holt on his first day at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.Reece Holt on his first day at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
Reece Holt on his first day at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

"I sent a message out to the mums to see what they thought and everyone was really enthusiastic. I think that’s one of the best things about this is that even after three years and them going off to different high schools, they’re coming together to do this. It melts my heart!

"At the minute, I have 12 confirmed teenagers, Ben, Lewis, Owen, RJ, Max, Oscar, Joe, Jamie, Niamh, Molly, Suria and Daisy.

"The plan is to start them off from the park on Sunnyslopes, Heysham and cycle to Happy Mount Park three times. On the fourthh lap, they will stop at the Battery and that is the 13 miles.

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"I’ve tried to work it out so they finish somewhere central and where there will be plenty of space having the whole coronavirus/social distancing thing in mind.

"I have some gold ribbon which they can tie to their handlebars and I’ve asked if they could wear something in Team Reece colours or gold/yellow so the public don’t think they’re a bunch of rowdy teenagers taking up the prom!

"I’ve also got some gold face paint to either put a T and an R on their cheeks or the cancer care symbol.

"I’m going to print and laminate some posters which they can pin to their backs too.

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"I have set up a Just Giving page which has already raised £485 which I am just so amazed at!

"There is also text number where people text GOGOLD to 70085 to donate £5.00 (text costs one standard message).

"We should have some gold car stickers and bracelets to sell too if anyone is interested in those.

"Let’s just hope the sun is shining!!"

In 2016, out of the blue, Reece, a normally healthy and happy young boy, collapsed at home. After emergency surgery at Alder Hey, it was discovered that he had an Anaplastic Astrocytoma; an extremely rare and malignant tumour that affects only about 10 children a year.

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Over the following years, Reece battled. He and his family went through something that no 13 year old, or any child for that matter, should have to go through.

Throughout numerous rounds of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, dealing with seizures, emergency visits to the hospitals and everything else that comes with it, Reece accomplished some amazing things.

Not only did he pass his 11+ and get a place at Lancaster Royal Grammar school, he also won several awards for his determination to achieve his goals and fundraising.

In one single day he managed to raise over £10,000! Not bad for an 11 year boy with a brain tumour!

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Even though he was suffering with all the side effects that come with the treatment and the illness he had, he continued to go to school and keep raising money for his registered charity that we all know today, as Team Reece.

Sadly, Reece passed away on January 18, 2019, at the age of 13.

Reece achieved so much. His fundraising efforts meant he could purchase a holiday home that other families could use and enjoy, and he also helped fund research with Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Emma said: "We need to continue Reece's legacy and keep fundraising to help other children and families that are going through the same thing.

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"We need to help raise money for research and find better treatments options and even potential cures for childhood cancer."

"Us mums will be stationed down the promenade wearing gold for Childhood Cancer awareness and with buckets ready to take your donations. So please, dig deep and help these friends raise money for their friend that was taken too soon."

Emma has already raised £485 for Team Reece.

You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emma-carter-488.

Visit Team Reece Children's Brain Tumour and Cancer Charity on Facebook for more details.