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Family battling cancer launch charity challenges

AN Everton mum and daughter battling different types of cancer have launched a series of fundraising challenges to raise thousands for the charities which have supported them.

Inspired by their family moto "Rivron Strong", Jo Rivron (39) and her daughter Matilda (11) will be joined by friends and family to complete a series of events this summer. The main beneficiaries will be Oakhaven Hospice and the Piam Brown Children’s Cancer Ward at Southampton General Hospital, plus a number of other children’s charities.

The Rivron family hope to raise £8,600
The Rivron family hope to raise £8,600

Jo has been living with breast cancer since her diagnosis in 2015, with many hospital stays, operations, radiotherapy, and constant chemotherapy.

Then in June 2020, Jo's oldest daughter Matilda was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia just four days before her 11th birthday. Within days she began a gruelling and in-tense course of chemotherapy.

Both mum and daughter have treatment at different hospitals in Southampton, which can be a logistical nightmare for the family, with younger daughter Amelie (8) often cared for by friends and family whilst dad Christian is supporting Jo and Matilda.

Jo said: “The support we have had from friends and family has been incredible. People really want to do something to show their love and we have been given so many lovely gifts.

“But we really wanted to direct some of that love towards the charities that have supported our family through this horrible time."

To mark her 40th birthday, Jo has set herself the challenge of a 5km walk around the old Beaulieu aerodrome on 24th April supported by friends and family.

She said: “Some days it is difficult for me to even get up off with sofa with the treatment I’m currently on, so 5km will be a real challenge. Friends and family will be joining me for the walk.”

"Our family motto is 'Rivron Strong'. We use this to remind ourselves that it is okay to not be okay as well as knowing that it is okay to have fun, be happy and be positive – even if you are having a bad day!”

“Whilst we deal with difficult moments every day, we also use this mindset to continue to support our friends with their own struggles. We have to live with cancer every day, but it will not be our daily focus, and will not define us!”

As well as support from husband Christian, Jo's family received huge support from her parents Lynn and Noel who are determined to play a part in raising money.

Noel, a keen cyclist, has been out on his bike almost every day during the pandemic and has now set himself the challenge of covering 8,600 miles by 21st June – the planned end of the UK lockdown restrictions, and close to Matilda and Amelie’s birthdays.

He set this goal as it is the equivalent distance to and from Trinidad, where his parents were born.

Meanwhile Christian is set to take part in the virtual London Marathon in October in support of Southampton Hospital’s Piam Brown children’s cancer care ward, with other family fundraising challenges planned for the summer.

Within five days of launching the Rivron Strong fundraising campaign, Jo and Matilda had reached their £8,600 target which they now plan to increase.

Jo said: “We have been completely overwhelmed by the incredible support we have received so far. Charities have been through such hardship in the last 12 months but the support for us has never been affected – we are so pleased we can do this to give something back.”

Other children’s charities which will benefit include the Little Princess Trust, Super-shoes, CLIC Sargent, Maggie’s Centre, Flight Like A Kid and Wessex Cancer Trust.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rivronstrong.

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