The fundraiser for a six-year-old boy with spina bifida has reached £100,000 after he pledged to walk 10 metres every day.
Frank Mills, from Bristol, was inspired by seeing the efforts of Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old who has raised more than £20 million for NHS charities by walking to the end of his garden and back.
And now, the youngster from Victoria Park in Bristol is doing the same to raise funds for NHS charities – and his efforts have struck a chord with people in Bristol.
Mum Janet Mills set up a JustGiving page and shared Frank’s story – with a target of just £99.
(Image: The Mills Family)
Within three days, over the weekend and on Monday, that target was met 350 times over, with more than £35,000 flooding in from hundreds of donors.
It has now raised nearly £105,000 thanks to 7,845 donors.
The brave six-year-old is keeping going – doing 10 metre walks with his walker every day to help out the NHS charities.
Mum Janet says four weeks into lockdown, the family came across Captain Tom’s daily fundraising walk – with his walking frame, and Frank just said, “I want to do that!”
“So we grabbed hold of that magic moment of motivation and we took his walker outside for him and chalked out 10 metres on the pavement with a start and finish line and two metre ‘you can do it!’ markers,” said Janet.
“Frank’s enthusiasm was not just surprising but invigorating and as he shouted at one of our neighbours to sponsor him, we thought why not? Maybe we could get some friends and family to support Frank.
“We quickly put something up on JustGiving and shared the link on Facebook, and from that moment it took off!
“We cannot believe how people are responding – so far £1,000 for every metre walked,” she said.
Frank was born extremely prematurely, at just under 25 weeks and spent nearly five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital.
Born with spina bifida, he then had incredible on-going care at Bristol Children’s Hospital and in the community.
Frank’s parents, Tony and Janet Mills, praised staff at both hospitals for their ‘absolutely amazing care and dedication’, and every time they drive past the hospital, Frank says: “That’s my hospital!”
The family say they have also benefited greatly from all the additional facilities and resources provided by the hospital’s Grand Appeal, one of the hospital charities that are a member of the Association of NHS Charities that both Captain Tom’s and Frank’s appeals are raising funds for.
“We have called this challenge Frank’s Finish Line Fundraiser,” said Frank’s dad Tony.
“At a time of great national anxiety, Captain Tom has given us a really good news story when we desperately needed one, especially inspiring our little lad Frank.
“Like a lot of people, we have responded to Tom because he’s simply done what he could and is supporting a great cause, so dear to our nation’s hearts at this crazy time.
“So many friends and neighbours have encouraged Frank, it’s been incredible! Folk have been so generous, especially at a time when people are struggling financially, and we would like to thank everyone who has supported Frank from the bottom of our hearts. It restores your faith in humanity,” he added.