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Father and daughter to take on Disney running challenges in aid of North Staffs Mind

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A father and daughter are preparing to run almost 40 miles during a trip to Walt Disney World to raise cash for a mental health charity.

Abi Neeld, 24, will be doing a half marathon, and her dad Mark Neeld, 50, will be running the full 26.2 miles at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend on January 7 in aid of North Staffs Mind.

Abi, from Westbury Park, Clayton, went to school with Hartshill teen, Thomas McCauley, who took his own life aged 19. She is a keen supporter of North Staffs Mind’s Maccas Project, which was established in Tom’s memory to teach young men about mental health and address the stigma attached to it.

Abi said: “Tom was a good friend. I’ve witnessed the devastation mental illness can have on a family. I don’t think it is spoken about enough, so I am keen to raise awareness and money to help others in the future.”

Abi has begun training while on maternity leave from her job as a marketing manager for Bet365.

She said: “I gave birth to a little boy in August, so I’ve only recently been able to start training due to needing to wait six weeks post birth before exercising again. I tried my best to keep fit throughout my pregnancy.

“We chose the Marathon Weekend because I love Disney and always have done. I think it’s something a little different and will be a great experience, while raising money for such an important cause. We are making a holiday out of it too and will be staying in Florida for two weeks.”

Mark, a dentist from Stone, has been running for 10 years and is a member of Stone Master Marathoners. He runs 365 days of the year and has even completed a marathon in Jamaica.

He said: “Mental health is an issue close to my heart. Professionally I see it every day. All sorts of people. It doesn’t differentiate. All ages, any gender, any job, any lifestyle. The more we can do to help these individuals and their families cope, the better.”

Mark will complete the course through all four Walt Disney World theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Abi will run a half marathon.

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Abigail-Neeld.