Alder Hey youngster Betty will officially start Santa Dash

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Betty & her family

There is just one week to go until four-year-old Alder Hey patient Betty will be officially starting this year’s Appreciate Group Liverpool Santa Dash.

The brave youngster from Warrington will be guest of honour on the day, and has been given the all-important job of officially starting the fun run. She will be joined on the day by Alder Hey Charity Champion LFC’s Jamie Carragher.

The festive spectacular returns on Sunday 5 December for its 18th consecutive event, and is highly regarded as the city’s kick-start to Christmas.

Betty and family
Betty and her family pictured at Alder Hey

More than 5,000 Santas have already signed up to take part in what is thought to be the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run. There is just one week left to sign up and collect Santa suits from St Johns Shopping Centre in Liverpool city centre.

Betty will be joined on stage by Mum Karen and sister Martha, while Dad Phil and brother Stanley will be pulling on their festive attire and taking part alongside thousands of other Santas.

As well as playing a special part on Santa Dash day, Betty is one of the children featured in the Christmas pyjama campaign with retailer Matalan.

Alder Hey Children's Charity

Organisers BTR Liverpool recently announced Alder Hey Children’s Charity as the event’s official charity. The hospital recently launched its new £2.5million Surgical Neonatal Appeal to help develop a state-of-the-art unit for newborn babies and their families.

The new Surgical NICU is a joint project between Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust as the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership. It will offer a further 22 neonatal cots for Liverpool, including 18 individual family rooms where parents can remain alongside their poorly newborns receiving expert care.

The campaign was announced in September by Liverpool Football Club legend Jamie Carragher, who spent the first six weeks of his own life in Alder Hey’s neonatal ward. Charity Champion and Campaign Ambassador Jamie, will be joining Betty and her family to officially start the fun run.

Dashing Santas are being encouraged to walk, jog or run to raise funds for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. More than £4,000 has already been raised through the event so far. To fundraise for Alder Hey at the Santa Dash visit https://www.alderheycharity.org/events/latest/liverpool-santa-dash-2021/ or to make a donation go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/santadashah

Betty was born premature and spent the first 13 months of her life at Alder Hey. Parents Karen and Phil have been trained by professionals to have the knowledge and skills to deal with Betty’s ongoing medical needs. Betty is still receiving care from Alder Hey.

Betty’s Mum Karen is urging people to dash and raise cash for Alder Hey. She explained: “Betty is our amazing, brave little miracle. She made an impressive entrance into the world at just 23 weeks, weighing only 650g. She needed neonatal intensive care, where her tiny lungs were supported by a ventilator. The teams at Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s Hospital are angels and gave us the greatest gift in Betty, but we needed help from both hospitals to save her life. Every single moment of Betty’s life is precious.

“We had to take the most terrifying journeys between the hospitals, knowing that each journey with our fragile baby girl could be the last. We were so aware of how vulnerable Betty’s life was as we had already lost our son George. He was born at just 22 weeks and we only had two hours to make memories with him. For some families, those memories are all you have so they really mean everything.

“By running the Santa Dash for Alder Hey you can help make it possible for families to be together and in the safest of hands. Betty and I will be on the Santa Dash start line so make sure you give us a big wave!”

Santas will set off at 9.30am from Pier Head Liverpool. They will run through Grade I Listed Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and the city centre, before crossing the finish line at Liverpool Town Hall where they will be greeted by stilt walking festive characters and ‘real’ snow.

Liverpool-based Appreciate Group is this year’s headline partner; event charity is Alder Hey Children’s Charity; media partner is In Demand Radio; with St Johns Shopping Centre hosting the pop-up Santa Dash shop.

Arriva North West is on-board for the fourth time by offering participants free bus travel on Santa Dash day. They must be wearing their Santa suit and race number on the morning, or their Santa suit and finishers’ medal when travelling home. There is no cut off time post run.

There is just one week left to register at St Johns Shopping Centre, the pop-up shop is located on the upper level near the Matalan bridge. Opening times are Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm, and Sunday 11am to 4pm. The shop will close at 4pm on Saturday 4 December and no more entries will be taken after this time.

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region.

The Liverpool Santa Dash was created by BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell and was first staged in 2004. A separate 1K Mini Dash for under 12s was added in 2007, and blue Santa suits were introduced in 2010.

The Santa Dash shop is also taking food bank donations of non-perishable food items, collecting for Fans Supporting Foodbanks and North Liverpool Foodbank. Items desperately needed include tinned or long life packet food including basmati rice, jam, instant mash, tinned spaghetti, tinned fruit, tinned rice pudding, bottled squash, cup a soup, packet noodles, and jars of curry sauce.

Liverpool Santa Dash is an accessible event open to everyone – wheelchair participants, walkers, joggers, runners, families, friends, colleagues, tiny Santas in prams, and even four-legged furry Santas.

The registration fee covers all costs to organise and deliver the event including road closures, safety measures, Santa suits, medals, goody bags, and entertainment.

Any Covid-19 guidelines required at the time of the event will be followed.

For full details and online entry visit: https://www.btrliverpool.com/santa-dash

From the archives: Alder Hey Children’s Charity Announced As Liverpool Santa Dash Charity 2021.

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