It’s smiles all round for charity boosted by Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run

A Leeds charity that helps children with Down syndrome has been handed a funding boost thanks to the efforts of young runners.

Youngsters took part in the free-to-enter Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run at Leeds Dock on July 11th in support of Sunshine and Smiles, the event’s partner charity.

Combined with the cash raised by 15 people who ran for the charity in the Asda Foundation Leeds 10K, a total of £10,000 has so far been raised with more to come from offline donations.

Organised by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, hundreds of children took part in the Mini and Junior run which included a 1.5km event for children aged three to eight, with youngsters aged between nine and 14 running 2.5km.

Sunshine and Smiles was established in 2011 as a support network for children and young people who have Down syndrome, and their families, in Leeds and the surrounding areas. Ailith Harley-Roberts, of the charity, said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has supported our runners.

“We need to say thank you to everyone who has been involved in so many different ways - volunteering, running, cheering, waving banners, supporting, raising sponsorship, donating.

“We really hope that many people will have seen our T-shirts and banners, seen all our wonderful Sunshine and Smiles team thoroughly enjoying being part of these great events, that a little more awareness will have been raised and that some perspectives will have shifted about what Down syndrome is and why it doesn’t have to define anyone.

“Finally, a big thank you to the Arena group and Jane Tomlinson’s Run for All for choosing us as this year’s partner charity.”

Anna Baker, of Run For All, said: “It’s great that the event was not only enjoyed by hundreds of youngsters, but that it has made a real difference to such a great cause. Well done Sunshine and Smiles!” 

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