Leo Stafford from Chessington will be taking part in this year’s TCS Mini London Marathon in April to raise money for Surrey based charity, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People’s (QEF).
The four-year-old will be dressed as his alter ego, Batman, to help him muster the energy to run the one-mile marathon in Westminster on April 22nd.
Leo chose the charity as he spends a lot of his time in QEF’s charity toy shop in Chessington. His mum, Jess, 33, said:
“Leo has been going to the shop since ever since he was born in 2018 and visits pretty much every other day to buy items that he uses for a short time before donating them back. The staff are special there and the ladies have watched him grow, welcome a brother and most recently introduce his new best friend Bruno our spaniel, so they almost feel like part of our family.
“Leo absolutely adores QEF’s toy shop and is always asking to go say hi to them, so when he wanted to do this challenge we knew that he would want to do it for them. As his parent we felt it was important for him to learn that there are others not as privileged as him and his brother, so to give something back will help set him up with good values and respect. We are so proud of him, especially given that only a year ago he wasn’t even talking. This is such a big step for him, and we can’t wait to watch him run.”
Leo has been training for his challenge with daily walks and runs with his mum and is really looking forward to running as Batman and receiving a medal.
QEF is a disability charity providing expert services that enable disabled people to increase their independence and achieve their potential. It is based in Leatherhead and supports almost 10,000 children and adults across the UK every year. It has 15 charity shops across Surrey and Middlesex which stock pre-loved clothing and bric-a-brac with some shops specialising in toys, games and furniture.
Jolene Ryan, Senior Events, Community and Partnerships Executive, QEF added: “Leo and his family should be very proud of his efforts, and we can’t thank them enough for supporting our charity with his challenge. It is quite the feat at such a young age, but I am sure Batman will be there in spirit to help him on his way.
“Our charity shops rely on donations of pre-loved items and we are always looking for people to bring in good quality items and people to volunteer in our shops to help us raise money so if you are having a clear out then do please consider dropping items into one of our stores when they are open, as your donated items could be someone else’s treasure.”