9-year-old's triathlons in memory of stillborn brother

9-year-old Lottie has set herself the challenge of completing two children's triathlons in memory of her brother Joshua, who was stillborn when Lottie was just seven years old.

Inspired by her older brother, Benjamin, who raised £1,701 by cycling 26.2 miles for Chestnut Tree House last year, Lottie will be taking on a 100m swim, 2km cycle, and 1km run in the Winchester Children's Triathlon in May and then a 50m swim, 2km cycle and 1000m run in the Henley Triathlon in July.

"I wanted to fundraise for Chestnut Tree House because they were so kind to me and my family when they looked after Joshua," says Lottie. "I want to give something back."

Lottie's mum, Fiona, knew that something was not right throughout her pregnancy with Joshua. "I was complaining of no movement throughout my pregnancy, so, at eight months pregnant I went for a private scan,"says Fiona. "They soon rushed us for an MRI scan where we found out that Joshua had brain damage due to Toxoplasmosis."

Toxoplasmosis is an infection that can damage a baby's eyes, nervous system, skin, and ears. "We discovered that Joshua's brain had started deteriorating due to the Toxoplasmosis," explains Fiona, "and that he would die during birth or a few hours after labour."

Joshua was stillborn in May 2018 and the family soon found out that the Toxoplasmosis not only affected Joshua's brain, but his skin too. At this difficult time, the family was supported by their local children's hospice, Chestnut Tree House, where they were able to spend some special time with Joshua and say goodbye in their own way.

"I will forever be grateful for Chestnut Tree House. They gave me time to spend with Joshua and do all the things I've done with my other children - read a book, change his clothes and spend time cuddling him.

"The staff were incredible, they had so much respect, not only to me but for Joshua too. It was the simple things that made such a difference. They would talk to him, spend time with him, and even knock on the door before entering the room.

"I don't think we would have got through what we have been through without Chestnut Tree House. They gave us the strength to pull through in such a difficult time.

"Chestnut Tree House was also a fantastic support for Lottie. She found it really hard at first, but the team helped her understand what was going on and got her strong enough to put some teddy bears in Joshua's coffin for his funeral.

"Without Chestnut Tree House, Lottie wouldn't be the strong girl she is today. She always talks about her dreams of helping people when she's older, and that's because of them.

"I'm really proud of her for taking on these challenges for Chestnut Tree House, she's such a determined, focused, and amazing little girl. She's really looking forward to it," says Fiona.

To support Lottie's triathlon challenge, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lottie-denman1



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