Tireless Tiffany’s 63,000 step challenge to help other children

A Portstewart teenager has embarked on a 63,000 step challenge in aid of Causeway Down Syndrome Support Group and the Cancer Fund for Children.

Front: Cllr Richard Holmes, Mayor of Causeway Coasts and Glens with fundraiser Tiffany. Back: Pat Forsythe (Representative of the Cancer Fund of Children and Una Crowe (Chairperson of the Causeway Down Syndrome Support Group)

17-year-old Tiffany decided to undertake her fundraiser in October as it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and she has now extended her challenge into November.

She vowed to walk ‘3 x 21,000’ and explained: “I learned in my GCSE science class that Down Syndrome is caused by three copies of chromosome 21.”

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Tiffany did not have an easy start in life. Born three months premature and with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), she not only had to overcome health complications like holes in her heart, but also contracted leukaemia as a baby.

Tiffany learns to run on the beach

A six month hospital treatment and a subsequent two year isolation period because of suppressed immunity helped her to survive cancer and chemotherapy.

She also received early therapeutic treatments aimed at improving the developmental outcomes for children with Down syndrome, e.g. hydrotherapy and music therapy.

The latter laid the foundation for her enduring love of music and passion for the piano despite her severe hearing impairment.

Now a teenager, Tiffany loves looking at early childhood photos and sharing fond memories of the people who were so kind towards her in those difficult years.

Tiffany with the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Richard Holmes

During lockdown she took up walking and also started to learn running.

That motivated her fundraising challenge for Cancer Fund for Children and Causeway Down Syndrome Support Group - both charities have provided crucial support for her early health and development.

Tiffany wants to ensure that children of other affected families can receive the same loving care.

Her mum Ami adds: “Until recently, I would not have thought it possible that Tiffany would engage in such physical activity, considering the challenges she has.

Cllr Richard Holmes, Mayor of Causeway Coasts and Glens, with Tiffany

“I admire her courage and tenacity.

“It serves as a reminder to me that even as parents we sometimes underestimate our children.”

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Richard Holmes, met Tiffany and said: “I would like to thank Tiffany for taking time out of her busy fundraising schedule to meet me in Cloonavin to tell me a little more about what she’s doing to raise money for these two fantastic causes.

“Tiffany has been through a lot in life already but she’s not letting any of that hold her back.

“I hope everyone is able to get behind her efforts and show their support by making a donation to her page.”

Donations can be made online at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/3times21