An animal-loving Rushden schoolgirl who was born with a heart condition and has cerebral palsy will complete a fundraising seven-mile charity walk challenge tomorrow (Saturday, June 20).
Evie Pearce, seven, loves zoos and when she heard that many were struggling for funds due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, she wanted to help the animals.
Despite struggling with her mobility, Evie, who has been diagonosed with Diplegic Spastic Cerebral Palsy, asked her mum Charlotte if she could do a fundraiser for Chester Zoo - a attraction that has been on her bucket list.
Charlotte, 33, said: "Evie absolutely adores animals so when I told her that Chester Zoo was running out of money because of the lockdown she wanted to do something to help the animals.
"We've never actually been to Chester Zoo but we heard that these attractions are going to suffer so Evie asked 'can we raise money for the animals and can we do a walk every day?'.
"She wanted to do seven miles because she's seven years old and she likes to keep her numbers consistent."
The mother and daughter set a target of £200 for their 14-day challenge but so far their half-a mile-a-day walks have exceeded £1,900.
Evie, a pupil at Harrold Primary Academy, was born six weeks early with pulmonary atresia, a heart condition that means her pulmonary artery does not develop properly.
She underwent open heart surgery when just 17 days old and has four further operations during her life - the last just a year ago - and will face more as she grows in size.
Charlotte said: "We've always done fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital. We had a Halloween party and have done cake sales.
"She loves animals and it really motivates her to go on the walks and get out of the house. She's actually doing really well. She's got purpose."
Animal lover Evie has been accompanied by her pet dog Teddy on her treks and like to wear Scamp & Dude clothing - the brand has a special lightning bolt motif to give the wearers a special 'power'
Charlotte said: "They make lots of animal print clothing and when Evie goes into hospital she presses the lightning to give her the power to become brave.
"I'd like to thank them because they shared Evie's page and we raised another £500."
Evie, whose favourite animals are lions, will be cheered across a special finishing line at Hall Park, Rushden on Saturday by her close family.
Charlotte, a senior care assistant, has had a printed ribbon emblazoned with 'Evie seven miles for Chester Zoo finishing line'.
Evie's dad Drew, 34, big sister Ella, 13, and aunts Connie and Holly and her cousins Henry, Damian and Tommy, as well as Connie's partner Callum and his daughter Freya, will applaud the brave fundraiser as she reaches her goal.
Charlotte added: "Evie is marvellous.She's doing so well. I'd like to thank everyone who has donated."
To donate to Evie's Chester Zoo fundraising total click here.
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