Meet the girl completing 12 challenges over 12 months for Staffordshire hospitals charity

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A half marathon, swimathon, abseiling and zipwire are just some of the challenges 25-year-old Iona Botfield is taking on this year.

After losing her grandad, Dennis Frank Marshall, in August 2018, Iona is determined to raise as much money as possible for the UHNM charity, to give back to those who supported her family through a difficult time.

Iona, from Stafford, said: “My grandad was as fit and healthy as an 86-year-old man can be, but he had a stroke out of the blue.

“The care that he got from the ambulance crew, to A&E and end-of-life was amazing.”

In a bid to raise money for the Acute Stroke Unit at Royal Stoke Hospital, Iona is taking on 12 different challenges over the duration of 2019.

She has already completed a park run as part of her 100-mile month for February, where she will complete 100 miles worth of running over the whole month.

Over the rest of the year, Iona plans to tackle the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, as well as a colour run, tough mudder and ‘Santa dash’.

Iona in her running gear and charity t-shirt

“I’m most nervous about the zipwire and abseiling because I’m absolutely terrified of heights. To me, that’s so much worse than running a half marathon,” she said, “but they’re not meant to be easy challenges.

“I wanted something that was challenging; something justifiable for the hard work that people at Royal Stoke do, and something that would raise enough money to make a bit of a difference.

“You hear so much bad press about the Stafford and Stoke hospitals and really all they’re trying to do is support the local community.

 “I also wanted something that would challenge me because I think it’s good to do things outside of your comfort zone.”

So far, Iona has raised £100 of her £500 Just Giving target, with sponsors donating for each event she completes. Iona said: “If someone sponsors £1 or £100, it’s all money going to a good service.

“It’s nice to know where your money is going, and if there is a department that has helped you or a family member then you can give straight back to the people that made the difference.

“People use the NHS day in day out, going to the doctors, the hospital and calling 111 and don’t really think about what it costs.

“People take it for granted and nobody has a health service like we do.”

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