Theft of donations spurs ‘disgusted’ charity race mum
A Belfast mother has told how she was spurred on to finish a 24-hour charity race after discovering that her £600 sponsorship money had been stolen.
Kellie Lyttle was taking part in the Energia event at the weekend to raise money for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, where her nine-year-old son Bradley has been receiving ongoing treatment for a kidney and bladder condition.
After a gruelling 70 miles, the 34-year-old mother-of-two collapsed and was forced to take time out from the race.
And it was while she was taking a break that she learned the cash bucket had been stolen from the shop she owns with her husband Gerard, the Vivo store at North Queen Street.
Despite feeling ill, exhausted and disheartened, Kellie decided to continue the race — prompted by her anger and disgust at the theft.
Her brother Paul McAllister, who was running with her, also completed the 24-hour challenge.
Kellie said: “I hadn’t been able to get water or food into me during the race so I basically fainted and had to stop running.
“While I was resting I was told that the cash bucket, containing all the money, had been stolen.
“I was absolutely disgusted and furious, as was my brother Paul, who was doing the race with me.
“But I was so annoyed I decided to get up and keep running and that I wasn’t going to let the thieves beat me.”
Kellie, who completed 83 miles in the end, said she was overwhelmed by the support she received after organisers of the event announced what had happened.
“As I was coming down from the presentation, people were handing me money,” she said.
“Throughout the day my husband had been updating everyone on Facebook, telling them how I was getting on and people kept coming into the shop to donate.
“Unfortunately, some heartless person decided to steal the money.
“We still have people wanting to donate, but we won’t be putting a cash bucket on the counter again.”
Bradley, who attends St Mary’s On The Hill primary school in Glengormley, suffers from bladder and kidney dysfunction and is due to undergo a procedure next week at the RVH for Sick Children.
Kellie said: “I spoke to the hospital and explained what happened about the money.
“But thankfully we’re on target to raise more money for them, thanks to the kindness of the public.”