Lockdown didn’t stop Caden Moore and his intrepid family from celebrating three years since his bone marrow transplant with an epic adventure challenge to travel 530K!

Caden was diagnosed with VSAA in June 2017. On 28 July, he received a bone-marrow transplant from his brother, Ben, and was discharged six weeks later. With his immune system in recovery, Caden has become used to missing school and isolation, and even created a film for the BBC to give some tips for everyone going into lockdown!

Caden’s treatment for AA saw him travel across the country. On 8th June, he left his home in Ballymoney and travelled to the Causeway Hospital, Coleraine. A few days later he left Causeway and was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, before eventually going to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, England for his life-saving bone marrow transplant on 28th July.

Now, three years later, the family have commemorated this journey of 530 kilometers (329 miles) by travelling the same distance, in the same time-frame, by walking, running, rowing, swimming or cycling! Caden and his mum paired up to tackle the challenge, and dad, brother Ben and sister Kaia decided to complete it individually! Each team had 51 days to clock up the total distance.

But it wasn’t just the Moore family who were taking on the challenge. The family wrote a letter to friends and family to ask them to join the adventure - and were amazed when around 100 people signed up! (The photo below shows Sarah & Jordan from local fitness centre Element Fitness - not only did Sarah complete the challenge, they held regular Caden Workouts for everyone to join in!)

By recruiting whole teams of fundraisers to their cause, the family saw their fundraising total rocket. Sabrina, Caden’s mum, told us that she’d hoped to raise about £1500. By the time they were finished, the challenge raised an incredible £9030. The family split this between three charities who had been a source of support during Caden’s treatment - The Aplastic Anaemia Trust, Angel Wishes, and Anthony Nolan.

Sabrina estimated that about 50-60 people finished the distance "it was a big challenge" she said, "about 11km a day! I had to keep prodding Caden to help our team out and do the distance. We had a spin bike in the living room so if we were getting behind and the weather was against us, we could hop on there and get the distance up."

Sabrina said that fundraising during lockdown was a great way for their active family to stay motivated and active: “it shook us up a bit and got us moving!”

Caden told us that “the walking was the hardest”, he really enjoyed the swimming, but it was harder to gain kilometers that way. He wore a fitbit to help track the distance he was travelling.

Caden is still receiving regular treatment post-transplant, but he’s enjoying being able to do kids' stuff again. And he’s just reached another exciting milestone - with lockdown over and children returning to school, Caden has been able to join them. While his classmates are emerging after a few months of lockdown, this is Caden’s first return to the classroom for three years!

The Aplastic Anaemia Trust would like to wish Caden all the best with the return to school and send a heartfelt thank you to the family's whole fundraising team for their incredible efforts. The money you raise helps us support more patients, and fund vital research to improve treatments. Together, we bring failed bone marrow back to life!

If you're thinking about celebrating a treatment milestone with some family fundraising - we'd love to help! Drop us an email to [email protected] and let us know your ideas.