Sana steps up to beat cancer for her 'little hero' brother who survived treatment

When 12-year-old Dani Mahmood finished treatment for cancer two years ago, he struggled to walk. But the way he’s dealt with his illness and its side-effects has inspired his big sister to walk 10,000 steps every day in March to help raise funds for vital research.

Sana Mahmood, from Walsall, with her brother Dani who she calls her ‘little hero’
Sana Mahmood, from Walsall, with her brother Dani who she calls her ‘little hero’

Sana Mahmood, from Fullbrook, Walsall, is the face of Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising campaign, Walk All Over Cancer, in the Midlands.

The 25-year-old is inviting people to sign up now and get sponsored to walk 10,000 steps every day in March to support the charity’s life-saving mission.

Sana said: “It was devastating when we found out Dani had cancer. Nothing can prepare you for those words. But thanks to research, he’s still here today. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to step up to the Walk All Over Cancer challenge this March.”

Dani was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukaemia just weeks before his 10th birthday in May 2018. He endured six months of chemotherapy and the harsh treatment left him struggling to walk. Although his legs have dramatically improved since then, he still hasn’t completely regained his strength.

Sana and Dani, 12, in hospital

“Dani is my little hero,” said Sana, a media studies graduate currently working at Sainsbury’s. “During his cancer treatment he was really poorly but he has such a happy-go-lucky personality, he just kept on smiling.

“Now he’s home schooling and doing amazingly well. I’m so proud of him. Every step I take during March will be for Dani and all the other children who have to go through treatment like that.”

By raising vital funds during Walk All Over Cancer, people across the region could help to get vital research back on track after the impact of Covid-19. There are plenty of positive health benefits too.

As well as helping towards a healthy body weight, taking part could also take a little weight off the mind. Regular walking is a great stress-reliever and can assist with mental wellbeing by improving mood and sleep.

Paula Young, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the West Midlands, said: “Signing up to Walk All Over Cancer is a safe and simple way to show support during these challenging times and I’d like to thank Sana from the bottom of my heart for leading the way.

Dani and Sana

"We all want 2021 to have a more positive outlook. So why not give yourself a boost by committing to get more active and having an achievable goal to aim for – all in aid of a good cause.”

Ten thousand steps is equal to about five miles, based on the average person’s strides so, by the end of March, participants will have clocked up more than 150 miles.

“That’s quite a challenge for some but adopting small changes that you can stick to can really add up,” said Paula. “Whether it’s taking part in conference calls on the go, exploring local beauty spots or treating the dog to a month of extra-long walks.

“Keeping check on the number of steps taken each day is a great way to create a sense of achievement and it’s easy to do with smartphone apps, pedometers and wearable activity trackers available to help.”

Sana Mahmood, from Fullbrook, Walsall, is the face of Cancer Research UK’s latestfundraising campaign, Walk All Over Cancer, in the Midlands.

Walk All Over Cancer is now integrated with FitBit, so that participants can automatically publish their step count on their fundraising page throughout the month.

Paula added: “With around 31,600 people diagnosed with cancer every year in the West Midlands, Cancer Research UK is working every day to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

“The truth is Covid-19 has slowed us down, but we will never stop striving to create better treatments for tomorrow. Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on our supporters. That’s why we need everyone to step up to Walk All Over Cancer.”

To sign up and receive a free fundraising pack, with tips and ideas to help with the challenge, visit cruk.org/walkallover

Participants are being encouraged to use #WalkAllOverCancer and tag @CR_UK when sharing their challenge on social media.

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