Young East Wittering cancer survivor’s 100-mile South Downs trek raises over £3k

A young cancer survivor from East Wittering has hiked 100 miles across the South Downs to raise thousands of pounds for the charity which helped her battle the disease during the pandemic.

Abi Mackinnon completed the South Downs Way trek from Winchester to Eastbourne in seven days alongside her mum Helen, and raised over £3,000 for CLIC Sargent

The 21-year-old care giver was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2020 and decided to take on the walking challenge to help the charity which supported her and her family throughout her treatment.

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Abi, who lives in Shore Road, said: “Hearing I had cancer was a terrifying moment in mine and my family’s lives, especially navigating our way through a cancer diagnosis and treatment with the pandemic going on.

Abi and Helen Mackinnon celebrate completing their 100-mile hike along the South Downs Way to raise money for CLIC Sargent

“At my first chemotherapy treatment at Southampton Hospital I was introduced to CLIC Sargent staff and they immediately helped me and my family to relax and feel supported.

“My social worker, Amanda, from CLIC Sargent, helped me organise wig fittings, grants, and was there to chat before during and after treatment.

“My family and I are so grateful for the support we received from CLIC Sargent and that’s why my mum and I decided to do this hike to fundraise for this amazing charity.”

Abi and Helen averaged approximately 16 miles per day during the challenge – and even ended up walking ten miles further than planned.

Helen and Abi Mackinnon with their dog Charlie

The duo’s online fundraiser has so far raised £3,171, smashing their original target of £1,000.

Rose Bailey, fundraising and engagement manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “We’re so grateful to Abi and Helen for taking on this epic challenge for CLIC Sargent.

“We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work so we can’t thank Abi and Helen enough for their efforts.

“It would be wonderful if the kind people of Chichester could get behind Abi and Helen and support their incredible efforts.

Abi and Helen Mackinnon hiked 100 miles along the South Downs Way to raise money for CLIC Sargent

“Well done Abi and Helen!”

Last year CLIC Sargent supported 91 families in West Sussex, giving out 69 financial grants totalling £17,476 to help them cope with the costs of cancer.

The charity’s Cancer Costs report found that families with a child on active treatment spend an extra £600 a month.

To donate to Abi and Helen’s fundraiser visit

Helen and Abi Mackinnon hiked 100 miles along the South Downs Way to raise money for CLIC Sargent


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