Friends take on foamy fundraiser in Sheffield for 14-year-old pal who is receiving cancer treatment

Four schoolboys are set to take on a foamy and muddy obstacle course to help the ward which is providing treatment for their friend.

By Rochelle Barrand
Friday, 24th May 2019, 12:27 pm
Harrison Walch, aged 14, playing football for Aston Swallonest Boys Blue. He is receiving cancer treatment at theCancer andLeukaemiaWard at Sheffield Children's Hospital.
Harrison Walch, aged 14, playing football for Aston Swallonest Boys Blue. He is receiving cancer treatment at theCancer andLeukaemiaWard at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Elliott Howson, Ryan Leather, Rhys Hudson and Joshua Mitchell, of Aston, are set to take on The Children’s Hospital Charity’s biggest event of the year, Theo’s Obstacle 5K, to raise funds for the Cancer and Leukaemia Ward at the hospital.

Their friend, 14-year-old Harrison Walch, was admitted to the ward for treatment last month. The group have raised £180 so far.

L-R Aston Academy Schoolboys- Rhys Hudson, Elliott Howson, Ryan Leather and Joshua Mitchell. They are to take on a charity obstacle course to raise funds in aid of their friend Harrison Walch, aged 14, who is receiving cancer treatment at theCancer andLeukaemiaWard at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

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The boys’ friendship has been fostered over a shared love of football, where they all played together for their local team, Aston Swallonest Boys Blue U15’s. 

Harrison’s Mum Nickie Walch, aged 40, said: “Harrison was breaking out in bruises, but we put that down to just teenage boys playing football. He began looking pasty, feeling tired and lost his appetite, so we took him to our GP.”

After seeing his symptoms, the GP did a blood test, which confirmed a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The aggressive form of cancer is caused by the rapid growth of abnormal white cells in the bone marrow and blood.

Harrison was admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where he has been undergoing intensive chemotherapy for the last month.

L-R Walch Family: Dad Steve Walch, Harrison Walch, Nickie Walch and sister Daisy Walch. Harrison, aged 14, was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Nickie added: “The staff are amazing, but the facilities are not what you would wish for when your child is so sick.

“It’s not a world we’ve been used to or needed to venture into, but it has been a real eye-opener for us.

“We’ve had to sleep on a camp bed for the last month and as there’s lots of younger children undergoing difficult treatment, there’s been very little rest.”

Harrison’s ongoing treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital prompted his friends to do whatever they could to support their friend.

Nickie said the boys’ offer to raise money meant a lot to Harrson, and the Walch family.

She said: “They volunteered to do it, I think it’s great that they want to do something for their friend.

“It’s such a kind and caring act, we’re really touched by it.”

Elliott’s Mum Shreen Howson, aged 46, said she was proud of her son, and the other boys.

She said: “They just really wanted to do something for the hospital after Harrison was diagnosed, which is really admirable.”

“I saw the obstacle race and thought, ‘that’s perfect!’. They’re all excited, you know what teenage boys are like, they want to throw themselves at anything.

“I’m sure they’ll be some healthy competition and plenty of fun on the day.”

 Theo’s Obstacle 5K in an annual event that will take place this year on Sunday July 13, at the new location of Hesley Wood Scout Camp.

There will be obstacles, inflatables, foam, water and mud for people to tackle and the course will suit walkers, joggers and runners of all abilities.

Cheryl Davidson, Fundraising Events Manager at The Children’s Hospital Charity added: “It’s really moving to hear about Elliott, Ryan, Rhys and Josh’s thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit in support of their friend Harrison.

“We look forward to welcoming them to Theo’s Obstacle 5K, which is bigger than ever before this year. 

“It promises to be a fun-filled day out for all the family with every penny raised making a difference to the thousands of children who visit Sheffield Children’s Hospital every year.”

If you wish to join Elliott, Ryan, Rhys and Josh’ on the obstacle course, you can. Prices for Theo’s Obstacle 5K are £20 for adults and £14 for children, with group discounts available for family bookings.

Places are limited so sign-up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment at

Participants will get wet, foamy and muddy, so they are advised to please wear clothes they don’t mind getting dirty and also remember to bring a change of clothes so they are comfortable on the way home. The event is not timed as it is all about having fun.

Any child aged 5 or over is welcome to take part in the event. Participants between 5 and 16 years old need to be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or a responsible adult of 18-or-over at the event.

The Children’s Hospital Charity helps make Sheffield Children’s Hospital even better, by funding projects that are over and above the standard NHS provision.

Donations fund four key areas; medical equipment, research, new facilities and improvements to the environment.

If you wish to support the boys, and everyone else taking part in the event visit