Olivia Ruston from Southport

An inspirational Southport teenager has been chosen as one of five people taking part in this year’s BBC Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge. 

Olivia Ruston, 17, will take on her leg of the challenge on Wednesday, 3rd November. 

She will start her journey from Churchtown Primary School in Southport, as she wants to highlight the excellent Young Carers Group there. 

Big sister Olivia, a talented student at the Rare School of Fashion and Art in Liverpool, has dedicated herself to caring for her younger sister, Jess. 

Jess, a pupil at Merefield School in Southport, was born with a rare overgrowth disorder and a unique chromosome abnormality. 

Olivia’s proud mum, Alison Ruston, said: Anyone is welcome to support and cheer along the route! 

“It’s starting at Churchtown Primary in Southport as Liv wanted to highlight the Young Carers Group at the school. 

“At the moment the Marine Way Bridge in Southport at 10am is a cheering point! 

“Please head down there, it’s a long way, and she’s going to need support!”

The Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children in Need is back with a difference.

This year, to keep everyone Covid safe, instead of the riders coming to the rickshaw, for the first time the rickshaw is going to them.

The Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge will see Matt Baker and the team take on a relay-style ride in five chapters, with each rider taking a leg each, travelling through their hometowns and visiting places which hold a particular significance for them. 

As the challenge enters its 11th year, Matt will be there to pass the “rickshaw baton” between these five inspirational young people: Olivia, Thomas, Rainbow, Harrison and Millie. 

You can watch how they go on in a special one-hour TV documentary, where the BBC will not only share the team’s remarkable stories but also celebrate the history of this much-loved BBC Children in Need staple, while at the same time raising money to help change young lives.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Olivia has dedicated much of her young life to helping to support her younger sister Jess, who was born with a rare life-limiting chromosomal disorder.

“Olivia and Jess are incredibly close and she has devoted much of her time to her beloved sister. 

“Both Olivia and her family are grateful for the support they continue to receive from the BBC Children in Need funded project, Claire House Hospice where both Jess and her family receive respite from her devastating condition.

“This vital project is funded to deliver a Play Therapist and Team Leader role for a sibling support group to give children and young people such as Olivia the support they need to cope with the emotional difficulties of having a sibling with a life-limiting illness.

“Olivia is a promising fashion student and is hoping to study Fashion Design.  

“She is also an active fundraiser having raised money for Claire House by selling the face masks she made during lockdown.” 

Her younger sister, Jess, has Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which is a growth disorder that causes large body size, large organs, and other symptoms. 

Jess was first diagnosed with the condition when she developed an abnormally large tongue, which can interfere with breathing, swallowing, and speaking. She also has a unique chromosome abnormality making her condition completely unique. 

The five-chapter Rickshaw Challenge relay will take place between Monday, 1st November and Friday, 5th November.

Throughout the challenge Matt Baker, the young people and the entire crew will be following strict Covid-19 guidelines in order to keep everyone involved in the production safe. 

You can follow along with the challenge through updates on the BBC Children in Need social media accounts.

 

 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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