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Alder Hey children’s surgeon to cycle 500 miles in 5 days for charity

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A WARRINGTON children’s surgeon with a passion for cycling is taking on her biggest challenge yet for charity.

Mother-of-two Harriet Corbett will cycle 500 miles in just five days, visiting six children’s hospitals as part of the #TOO500 event for children’s charity Thinking of Oscar. The event is aiming to raise £500,000 ‘Innovation Fund’ to support improvements in paediatric care and healthcare for children.

Miss Corbett, 48, who often cycles to work from her home in Croft,  is a paediatric surgeon specialising in children’s urology. She was introduced to the event by colleague Iain Hennessey, Alder Hey’s Clinical Director of innovation, who is close to the charity.

The event is organised by Hannah and David Cole, who created the Thinking of Oscar charity after their 16-month-old son Oscar died suddenly in 2014. Along with other riders, Miss Corbett will set off from Oxford Children’s Hospital, where Oscar was treated, and take in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

After 500 miles in five days, riders will cross the finish line on June 16, three days before the fifth anniversary of Oscar’s death, at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Explaining how she got involved in the event, Miss Corbett, said: “Iain already knows Hannah and David and he forwarded an email to me saying, ‘you’re a cyclist, please will you do the Alder Hey leg?’.

“That was an instant ‘definitely, yes!’ from me, and then I went and looked at the event and saw it was a great cause and an amazing thing to do, so I thought ‘I think I can do all five days of this’. It just popped into my inbox at the right time and I thought ‘wow!’.

“As we get closer it seems like a really daunting challenge but I’m sure it’ll be a worthwhile one!”

Mr Hennessey said: “The Alder Hey innovation team is delighted to support Miss Corbett, one of our fantastic urology surgeons, undertaking a round-the-UK sponsored cycle to raise funds for TOO.

“Without this type of funding, children’s healthcare innovation will continue to lag behind the adult sector.”

Miss Corbett took up cycling about five years ago, encouraged by her brother, and has since completed multiple London 100 events and the Welsh Velo.

“I’ve done closed-road 100-mile events,” she said, “but unless you are a professional cyclist when will you ever get the chance to do five 100-mile days back to back? It will be very tough but there will be a real sense of achievement, as long as we are rewarded by a huge amount of money raised.”

Thinking of Oscar is still encouraging cyclists to get involved and for the public to donate. Riders can opt to take part in single days of the event.

Miss Corbett said: “Coming into hospital with a sick child must be a very daunting experience for the child and for their parents. I know there are a lot of innovative things being done now that just need funding. There must be lots of ideas out there that can improve a child patient’s journey through hospital, and that’s what the Thinking of Oscar charity is all about.”

Hannah Cole said: “We’re so grateful to Harriet and Iain and Alder Hey for such fantastic support of #TOO500. It makes such a difference having people that share our passion and commitment to improve outcomes in child health taking part. I hope people support Harriet and Iain as much as they can via Just Giving and help us ensure Thinking of Oscar helps make a bigger difference.”

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