Brave Sidmouth girl inspires family triathlon

Family unites for love of Erin

the BRAVERY of an “inspirational” little girl from Sidmouth with cystic fibrosis has seen her family unite to tackle a triathlon with a difference - and boost a cause searching for a cure.

Eight-year-old Erin Kirley’s divorced mum and dad, Sandra and Mark, respectively set their sights on running the London Marathon and cycling the length of the UK for charity in her honour.

Her big sister Jenna, 10, hopes to make a fundraising splash by taking on a sponsored swim.

They will be spurred on in their gruelling challenges by the courage of sporty schoolgirl Erin, who never cries or complains – despite having to take 60 pills and undergo four physiotherapy treatments a day.

“Erin is very brave – she never moans and is always happy - and is a bit of an inspiration. The least we can do is run 26 miles, swim, and cycle the length of the country,” said mum Sandra, 42, of Malvern Road, who tackled the London Marathon yesterday.

“We are living for the moment, which is why we are doing these challenges.

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“We want to show her we care and that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

“She was chuffed to bits and quite impressed when we told her.”

Sandra’s ex-husband Mark, 43, will complete the final leg of the 900-mile ride from Land’s End to John O’ Groats in July.

Simouth Sharks member Jenna’s sponsored swim will take place in the town’s pool on Saturday, April 28.

The family hopes to raise �3,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which supports families and backs research into clinical care.

St John’s School pupil Erin was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 18 months old.

The genetically inherited condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, clogging them with thick, sticky mucus and leaves the sufferer prone to life-threatening infections.

“It’s really hard to deal with as a mum,” said Sandra.

Commenting on the family’s fundraising exploits, she said: “We all wanted to do something, so decided to turn it into a proper triathlon.

“Erin is sporty but gets tired easily, so we try to stay active for her to set a good example.”

? If you want to sponsor the Kirleys, visit

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