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6-year-old with spina bifida raises $86K for frontline health staff. He was inspired by Captain Tom
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6-year-old with spina bifida raises $86K for frontline health staff. He was inspired by Captain Tom

After seeing Captain Tom's initiative on TV, little Frank wanted to make a difference of his own and donate to the NHS.

Image Source: (L) Frank's Finish Line Fundraiser / Just Giving (R) captaintommoore / Instagram
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Captain Tom Moore's story has spread like wildfire over the past few weeks. The veteran, stuck at home due to a stay-at-home directive, pledged to raise £1,000 (just over $1,000) for the United Kingdom's National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his garden before celebrating his 100th birthday at the end of the month. He's already surpassed his goal, raising a whopping £27.5 million ($33.4 million). He's also inspired six-year-old Frank Mills with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, to raise funds by doing 10-meter walks with his walker every day, The Sun reports.

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While the ongoing pandemic has brought out the worst in some of us, it's also resulted in some wonderful acts of humanitarianism. Six-year-old Frank's fundraiser is perhaps the best example of the latter. The young boy was inspired by Captain Tom and decided he wanted to take action too. His mother Janet Mills said in an interview with the Bristol Post that her son had seen the veteran and his initiative on television four weeks into the lockdown. He immediately said, "I want to do that!" Janet shared, "So we grabbed hold of that magic moment of motivation and we took his walker outside for him. [We] chalked out 10 meters on the pavement with a start and finish line and two-meter ‘you can do it!’ markers." However, his motivation didn't end there.

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"Frank’s enthusiasm was not just surprising but invigorating," his mother said. "As he shouted at one of our neighbors to sponsor him, we thought, 'Why not?' Maybe we could get some friends and family to support Frank." Therefore, just like Captain Tom, Frank and his parents took to the fundraising platform JustGiving to start their own fundraiser. Janet stated, "We quickly put something up on JustGiving and shared the link on Facebook, and from that moment it took off! We cannot believe how people are responding. So far, [we have received] £1,000 for every meter [he has] walked."

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The fundraiser is particularly special because of Frank's condition. He was born extremely prematurely, at just under 25 weeks, and spent almost five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Though he had spina bifida, he was able to get incredibly good ongoing care at Bristol Children’s Hospital as well as in his local community. Frank and his family have also benefitted greatly from all the additional facilities and resources provided by the hospital’s Grand Appeal. This is one of the hospital charities that are a part of the Association of NHS Charities, where both Captain Tom and Frank will be sending the funds they raise during this challenging time.

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"We have called this challenge Frank’s Finish Line Fundraiser," Frank's father Tony Mills said. "At a time of great national anxiety, Captain Tom has given us a really good news story when we desperately needed one, especially inspiring our little lad Frank... So many friends and neighbors have encouraged Frank, it’s been incredible! Folks have been so generous, especially at a time when people are struggling financially, and we would like to thank everyone who has supported Frank from the bottom of our hearts. It restores your faith in humanity." The father rained down praise on the NHS, a public institution that has been a pillar of strength during the ongoing public health crisis.

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He added, "Thank God for the NHS! The NHS is like a gem in the Crown Jewels, an institution we are so proud of and thankful for. The NHS was born out of a crisis and I really hope it will be reinvigorated after this one. I really hope we don’t return to business as usual when things resemble normality again." Frank joins Captain Tom in supporting one of the most important components of the UK's public services. If you would like to make a contribution, you can visit little Frank's JustGiving page here. The six-year-old has already raised over £70,000 (over $86,000) and he's not stopping any time soon.

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