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10-Year-Old Mighty Girl Running 20 Marathons for Charity Helping Her Baby Cousin's Rare Condition

10-year-old Grace Turner-Cox is running the equivalent of a marathon a week for 20 weeks to raise funds for a charity helping kids with craniosynostosis.

10-year-old Grace Turner-Cox's baby cousin Henry was diagnosed with a rare birth defect after his birth last May — so the Mighty Girl from Basingstoke, England is running the equivalent of a marathon a week to raise money for a UK charity helping kids with craniosynostosis! Grace came up with her fundraising idea at Christmas and she's already completed six marathons and hit her first fundraising target of £1,250 (about $1,750 US) to help support the work of Headlines Craniofacial Support. Now, she plans to continue her runs every week until Henry's first birthday in May, completing the equivalent of 20 marathons. "I might only be 10 years old," says Grace, "but my motivation to run to support this amazing charity has kept me going."

Craniosynostosis is a condition in which the bones in a baby's skull fuse together too early, and children born with craniosynostosis may need multiple surgeries. While it affects about 1 in 2,500 babies born in the United States, the causes of the condition are mostly unknown. Headlines Craniofacial Support helps to raise awareness of the condition, supports research around treatment, and helps support kids and their families living with the condition. In Henry's case, he will have craniofacial surgery in the future to improve his head shape and reduce the possibility of developing too much pressure inside his skull.

Since Grace loves running, it was a natural choice as a fundraiser. As she told A Mighty Girl, however, it wasn't very long ago that Grace couldn't have imagined herself running long distances for charity. "I never thought I was good at running until a cross country race at school and I came first," she says. "My PE teacher asked me to join her club Wessex Wyverns. I then started Junior Park run and I qualified for the Hampshire school cross country competition and came third where I won a medal. This inspired me to keep going."

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Grace decided to run a marathon in a week on behalf of the British National Health System (NHS) and raised £500 ($698) in the process; but she says, "I decided I could do more." Grace chose to focus her energy on supporting the family's Henry's Heroes fundraising and awareness project by running the equivalent of a marathon every week over several days. To add a bit of whimsy and to keep the focus on Henry, for her Sunday runs, she also dresses in a zebra costume since it's Henry's favorite animal.

For her final run in May on Henry's birthday, she's challenged her grandfather and uncle to join her, but she doesn't plan to stop after she's reached her goal. "I want to keep running for charities and one day run a marathon in under 4 hours," Grace says. "I would love to represent [Great Britain] one day.... I now know I am good at running." For now, however, her focus is on completing all 20 marathons and supporting the work of Headlines Craniofacial Support. As Grace writes on her fundraising page, "Henry — I love you so much and I am proud to have you as my cousin... I want people to understand [craniosynostosis] more and hopefully I can make a little difference."

If you'd like to support Grace's runs for Headlines Craniofacial Support, you can make a donation on her fundraising page.

Books And Resources to Encourage Kids to Make a Difference

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed

Written by: Emily Pearson
Illustrated by: Fumi Kosaka
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

The most amazing thing about kindness is how it ripples out beyond the original act! Mary finds a patch of blueberries on her way home, and decides to pick some for Mrs. Bishop. Mrs. Bishop in turn makes blueberry muffins that she gives to five people — one of whom helps five more, and then one of those helps five more... Before long, a variety of kindnesses, some with a small impact and some with a huge one, are creating a change that extends worldwide. It's a lovely testament to how little acts of compassion and kindness have big potential for the entire world.

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Written by: Sonia Sotomayor
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Recommended Age: 4 - 9

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael López celebrate kids of different abilities and the power of inclusion in this affirming picture book! Sotomayor encourages kids to ask if they are curious about another child's differences, introducing physical conditions like her own experience with diabetes and Lopez's use of an inhaler for asthma, then broadening the conversation to include neuroatypical conditions like Tourette's and autism; learning disabilities like dyslexia; and even a nut allergy. Throughout, the children in her story work together to create a garden as a powerful visual reminder that we all have the power to make the world more beautiful.

All The Way To The Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

All The Way To The Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything

Written by: Annette Bay Pimentel
Illustrated by: Nabi Ali
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

Jennifer Keelan was just an ordinary girl who happened to use a wheelchair. But she knew her life would be a lot easier if people would think about what people with disabilities needed — like cuts in a curb, lifts and elevators, and most importantly, acceptance from others. She joined adult activists in the disability rights movement, and on March 12, 1990, as Congress contemplated the Americans with Disabilities Act — a law that would make public spaces accessible — she got out of her wheelchair at the bottom of the steps to the Capitol Building and climbed — all the way to the top. This inspiring picture book reminds young readers that anyone, no matter their age, can make an impact.

Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon

Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon

Written by: Kim Chaffee
Illustrated by: Ellen Rooney
Recommended Age: 6 - 10

Kathrine Switzer loved to run: it felt like magic! But when she grew up, girls weren't supposed to sweat, or push themselves to run mile after mile: they were "too weak, too fragile." Switzer knew that wasn't true, and she continued to challenge her limits. The ultimate test was the Boston Marathon — but would a woman be allowed to register? Kathrine Switzer might not be admitted... but K. Switzer was. Wearing race number 261, Switzer became the first woman to officially run the marathon and changed the history of women's sport. This compelling picture book biography will inspire kids with her love of running and her passion for equal treatment. For a book about another pioneer for women runners, check out You Should Meet: Roberta Gibb.

Start Now! You Can Make a Difference

Start Now! You Can Make a Difference

Written by: Chelsea Clinton
Recommended Age: 7 - 11

Activism can sometimes seem overwhelming — but there are problems large and small that kids can tackle every day! In this book, Chelsea Clinton addresses five key concepts — health, hunger, climate change, endangered species, and bullying — and shows kids how to start solving them, either individually, locally, or globally. Each chapter ends with a "Start Now!" bullet list, providing suggestions for young would-be activists to take first steps towards big changes. Kids will particularly love the photographs of real kids, just like them, who have started leading the way for people around them.

A Smart Girl's Guide: Making A Difference

Using Your Talents and Passions to Change the World

A Smart Girl's Guide: Making A Difference

Using Your Talents and Passions to Change the World

Written by: Melissa Seymour
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Anyone can make the world a better place — whether you're helping a few people in your school or tackling a global issue! If your Mighty Girl wants to make a difference, but doesn't know where to start, this book from the American Girl Library will help. Girls will identify their talents and skills, and figure out which causes matter the most to them. Then, they'll see how they can change things for the better, whether it's welcoming a lonely classmate, writing letters asking for change, or starting a fundraiser. This empowering and inspiring book will help girls recognize their power to make the world a better place.

It's Your World! Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going!

It's Your World! Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going!

Written by: Chelsea Clinton
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Kids need to hear that this world isn't just for the adults — it's their world too! Author Chelsea Clinton breaks down some key social issues facing the world today, including poverty, climate change, gender equality, health, and endangered species. With a mix of statistics and personal stories she shows what challenges affect each of these areas, and then breaks down how kids and teens can help. Empowering and informative, this book encourages kids to take ownership of the world around them and reminds them that every person can make a difference.

The Opposite of Spoiled

Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money

The Opposite of Spoiled

Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money

Written by: Ron Lieber

Money conversations can also provide a great opportunity to communicate family values about money and giving. This insightful parenting book shows how families of all income levels can talk with kids about money issues, not only to teach them about financial responsibility, but also to show them how the family's choices allow them to give to their community. Author Ron Lieber explores topics ranging from the Tooth Fairy to birthday parties to college tuition to help parents teach that money is a tool, not a goal, and that the reward comes from how you use it. For another book about raising compassionate kids, check out UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About Me World.

Moonjar Classic Moneybox: Save, Spend, Share

Moonjar Classic Moneybox: Save, Spend, Share

Manufacturer: Moonjar
Recommended Age: 3 and up

Even little kids can learn basic money skills with the Moonjar Moneybox! Moonjar moneyboxes are divided into three separate compartments: Spend, Save, and Share. This division is a great way to teach children about the benefits of saving money for a special purpose versus spending it immediately. It also provides an easy way to make charitable giving a part of your child's life. For another divided piggy bank, check out the Smart Piggy Trio Bank for ages 4 and up, which includes three separate ledgers for tracking funds.

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