A nine-year-old Sheffield Wednesday superfan has taken on his second epic challenge in a year for his beloved cousin Evie-May who has a rare chromosome disorder.
‘Super Shay’ O’Grady, from Ecclesfield, is tackling a triathlon with a local football twist to raise funds for his cousin’s home away from home, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
The tenacious youngster is seven weeks into the first part of his challenge which will see him swim the 6,000 metre distance from Bramall Lane to Hillsborough.
The challenge will culminate on the 8th February next year when he’ll walk from Hillsborough to Barnsley’s Town’s Oakwell stadium ahead of the South Yorkshire derby.
Once the match is over, he plans to tandem cycle back to his home turf at Hillsborough.
Shay’s dad, Jason O’Grady, said: “He just wants to do as much as he can for Evie-Mae and for Bluebell Wood – that’s what drives him.
“They think the world of each other and being the same age, they’ve always been close. He’s always done things for her and tried to help her however he can.”
Evie-Mae O’Grady Askwith, 9, from Ecclesfield, has an extremely rare chromosome deletion disorder, which means she can’t walk or talk and needs round the clock care.
Alongside her family she’s been visiting Bluebell Wood for a number of years for respite care and other events and activities.
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. He just loves her to pieces.
“Bluebell Wood have been there for us since day one so it’s just so brilliant what he’s doing.”
The challenge comes after Shay walked from Bluebell Wood to Hillsborough in February ahead of the big Steel City derby match to raise funds for the hospice. The Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri was so impressed with Shay’s determination, he pledged to match his fundraising total of £5,000.
“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: “Our Super Shay is just inspirational and we couldn’t be prouder of what he’s doing.
“His epic walk earlier this year really captured people’s 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.
“Best of luck Shay – we’re behind you every step of the way.”
To help Shay reach his fundraising goal, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=shayogrady&pageUrl=1