Two Fressingfield Primary pupils who have endured difficult periods in their young lives are to embark on an open water swim for causes close to their hearts.
Amelia Grantham and Billy Eaves, both 11, will swim at the Alton Water reservoir, near Ipswich, at noon tomorrow in the Great East Swim 2014.
Amelia is raising money for Macmillian Cancer UK following the death of her grandmother in 2010, while Billy is swimming for Alopecia UK after being diagnosed with the condition late last year.
Amelia’s grandmother, Valerie Feavearyear, died after suffering from bone and lung cancer at the age of 66.
Tracy Grantham, Amelia’s mother, told the Diss Express: “I am excited that she is doing it. I am very, very proud of her but I am nervous for them.
“Both children have had tough times during the last six months of school. Amelia has chosen Macmillan, that was her choice, and it is really personal for me because my mum died of cancer four years ago and Macmillan were amazing.
“It was really hard because my mum was diagnosed and died within three months. Amelia had a really close bond with my mum so it was really tough.
“We had only come to terms as a family that my mum had got cancer and then they told us she was going to die, and we weren’t prepared that she was going to die so soon.
“Trying to explain to a seven-year-old what cancer is - that’s where Macmillan came into their own.”
Billy was diagnosed with alopecia areata (AA) in October, when he began to lose hair at the crown of his head.
His mother, Karen, said: “You can imagine a child at his age to lose a substantial amount of hair is tough.
“He has coped with it brilliantly. I am really proud of him.
“There is no definite treatment for it. His hair is coming back but there is no guarantee he won’t lose it again. He may lose more, he may lose it in a different place.
“He was offered to go a group so he could meet other children with the same condition so he could get to understand it, but in his words he didn’t want to do that because he had more hair than a lot of other children, and didn’t want them to feel bad about it.”
It will not be the first time they have swum for good causes.
They both took part in a swim for Aspire last year, which saw them swim the length of the channel in indoor pools.
Headteacher at Fressingfield Primary, Mark Taylor, added: “For them to go off and do that is absolutely brilliant.
“There’s six other children who have been raising money, selling cakes and various other things, and they haven’t been prompted to do it - they have done it off their own back. I don’t think young people deserve such a bad a press as they get generally.”
The pair were set to collect further sponsorship from parents in the school playground this morning ahead of tomorrow’s swim.
To sponsor Amelia’s fundraising effort, visit www.justgiving.com/Amelia-Grantham, or to donate via text message, text TGFL94 to 70070.
To donate to Billy’s charity, visit www.justgiving.com/billyeaves