A BAKERY worker from Llangollen has been inspired to embark on a series of fund-raising challenges thanks to the bravery shown by her nine-year-old cousin.

Quality assurance manager Charlie Reoch, 25, is kicking off her quest with the Village Bakery Half Marathon, which is sponsored by her employers, and takes place in Wrexham on Sunday, February 17.

Her brave little cousin, Lilly Day, who lives in Deal in East Kent, is one of fewer than 30 people in the world who have been diagnosed with an uncommon variant of the already rare condition, Ataxia-Telangiectasia or A-T.

It’s a degenerative multi-system disorder that affects the brain, immune system and increases the risk of cancers. The condition causes increasingly severe disability for which there is no cure.

Charlie, who joined the Village Bakery team nine months ago, is now in training for what will be her first ever half marathon.

"Half the money I raise will go to the AT Society who fund research into treatment and hopefully a cure," Charlie explained.

"The rest of the money I would like to give directly to the Day family because, while Lilly can still move and enjoy life, they want to take her on the road trip of a lifetime this summer.

"It is a very cruel condition which sadly means that she will die young. She's got an older sister, Melissa, and an older brother, Hayden, so they want to go and make memories while they still can.

“Lilly is of an age now where she is starting to understand more. She used to say to her dad ‘Daddy next year when I'm better, can we do this and that?’. They had to sit her down and say ‘this is the best you're going to be’.

"But she's a very positive young girl and she's quite energetic and excited. She's gorgeous. She's cheeky. She's ever so funny. She's full of life, a really happy little girl.The fact she has A-AT is terribly sad. It's heart-breaking."

The Village Bakery Half Marathon itself is attracting a record number of runners, with more than 2,700 signed up already.

As well as sponsoring the event, this year the Village Bakery is also providing the race headquarters at their new gluten-free bakery on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

After the half marathon, Charlie is looking for ideas for more fund-raising physical challenges.

The proceeds will be split equally between the A-T Society and Lilly’s family so they can go on a holiday of a lifetime touring Europe in a camper van.

"Lilly is inspiring me to do this now," she said.

"I don't have a plan for the other challenges but I’d welcome suggestions from people for what they'd like to see me do.

"I used to run about two years ago but this will be my first half marathon. I am in training now, the farthest I have run so far is 8k."

Charlie has set up a Just Giving page for anyone who would like to make a donation at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lillys-story.