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A teenage girl has completed a ‘marathon’ challenge to help raise money for a neonatal unit which saved her life 14 years ago.

Between school, zoom dance lessons, and singing lessons, Poppy-Rose Huntley ran 26.2miles over the course of three months (Sunday 3 January to Friday 3 April) in aid of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s neonatal unit.

It’s a cause close to her and her family’s heart as she spent the first two weeks of her life on the unit after she was born six weeks early, weighing a tiny 4lb 14oz. Poppy-Rose then spent a further two weeks in King’s College Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Her older sister Daisy-Ellen, now 15, also spent a few hours on MTW’s neonatal unit at as she was also born six weeks early.

The Year 9 St Augustine Academy student, who lives in Maidstone, said “I wanted to help raise awareness of the brilliant work the nurses, doctors and professionals do on the neonatal unit and raise funds that will go towards helping other babies and their parents.

“I didn’t set a fundraising target; all I asked was for people to make a donation, no matter how small, in order to help the unit.”

Mum Kirsty said: “The whole family is extremely proud of Poppy-Rose.

“Considering everything she went through and having seen her being intubated and her tiny body laying lifeless, it is truly amazing and encouraging for all those other parents who may be going through a similar experience with their babies that there is hope that things will turn out to be okay in the end.

“As a mum I will be forever grateful to all the staff on the unit for all of their hard work as without them Poppy-Rose would not be here today. I have such admiration for the staff, they work long hours and carry out lifesaving treatment so I would love to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to them for saving our baby girl.”

The challenge also helped Poppy-Rose complete her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award which requires students to undertake three months of volunteering work to help an organisation of their choice.

The amount raised by Poppy-Rose stands at over £400.

Laura Kennedy, Fundraising Manager for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s Charitable Fund, said: “Poppy-Rose is a real inspiration to other young people. To see her going the extra mile to help raise funds for the unit that saved her life is truly heart-warming.

“The money raised will certainly benefit staff and families on the unit.”

If you would like to support Poppy-Rose you can donate via her JustGiving page –