A nine-year-old Sheffield Wednesday superfan has taken on his second epic challenge in a year for his beloved cousin who is being cared for at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
‘Super Shay’ O’Grady, is tackling a triathlon with a local football twist to raise funds for the North Anston hospice where his nine-year-old cousin Evie-Mae, nine is being treated for an extremely rare chromosome deletion disorder, which means she can’t walk or talk and needs round the clock care.
The tenacious youngster is seven weeks into the first part of his challenge which will see him swim the 6,000 metre distance it is from Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane home to Hillsborough, home of his beloved Owls.
The challenge will culminate on February 8 next year when he’ll walk from Hillsborough to Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium ahead of the South Yorkshire derby between the Owls and the Tykes.
Once the match is over, he plans to tandem cycle back home.
Jason O’Grady, Shay’s dad, said: “He just wants to do as much as he can for Evie-Mae and for Bluebell Wood – that’s what drives him.”
Mum Keeley, who’s also raised thousands of pounds for Bluebell Wood with her family, said: “Shay’s got a heart of gold and we’re all so proud of him.”
The challenge comes after Shay walked from Bluebell Wood to Hillsborough in February ahead of Wednesday’s big Steel City derby against Sheffield United to raise funds for the hospice.
Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri was so impressed with Shay’s determination, he pledged to match his fundraising total of £5,000.
Jason continued: “We met Mr Chansiri after the sponsored walk and we couldn’t believe it when he offered to match the total we raised. It was such a nice thing to do,” said Jason.
“He also said to Shay that he’d like to see him do another challenge for his cousin, which really got us thinking about what to do next.
“Then we happened to watch a footballer talking about the Iron Man Challenge on TV, and that gave us the inspiration.”
Gail Parkin, community fundraiser at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, said: “Super Shay is just inspirational.
“His epic walk earlier this year really captured peoples hearts and raised a phenomenal sum for Bluebell Wood.
“The fact that he does it all for his cousin Evie-Mae and the other children we care for at Bluebell Wood just melts your heart.
To help Shay reach his fundraising goal, click here.