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Journalist to run half-marathon in honour of toddler she helped to save

A daily newspaper journalist will run a half-marathon in honour of a toddler who successfully underwent life-changing surgery after she covered the little girl’s story.

Daily Record journalist Sarah Vesty’s story about Ava Stark, who had two bone marrow donors cancel on her in 2016, prompted almost 50,000 people to sign up to donate in the space of 48 hours.

The following month, after the Glasgow-based Record’s appeal, Ava was able to undergo the surgery she needed.

Now Sarah, who won blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan’s Journalist of the Year title for her coverage, is set to compete in the Edinburgh half-marathon.

Sarah met up with Ava, now five, as part of her training for the event, which she will run in aid of Anthony Nolan.

Daily Record journalist Sarah Vesty with Ava Stark

Daily Record journalist Sarah Vesty with Ava Stark

In a piece for the Record, Sarah wrote: “I feel so privileged to have been able to help tell Ava’s story. Knowing that I played a small part in finding her ‘hero’ is without a doubt my proudest achievement.

“Inspired by her incredible bravery, I decided I wanted to give something back to the amazing charity that had helped her and her family through their darkest days.

“So I decided to sign up for my first ever half marathon – which is no easy challenge for someone that wouldn’t even walk to the local shop before.

“If Ava can get through everything she has without complaining, then I will finish this 13.1 mile challenge.

“And when I cross that finish line on 27 May, I know she’ll be there cheering me on with that legendary cheeky grin on her face.”

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