Sky’s the limit for Owls mad nine-year-old as epic finale of fundraiser approaches

Shay at HillsboroughA nine-year-old Sheffield Wednesday superfan has smashed his fundraising target for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, weeks ahead of the gruelling finale of his epic triathlon.

‘Super Shay’ O’Grady, whose beloved cousin Evie-Mae is supported by Bluebell Wood, has already doubled his initial target of £1,000 – and as far as he’s concerned the sky’s the limit.

Last year the inspirational youngster managed to raise a phenomenal £5,000 with a sponsored walk from the hospice to Hillsborough ahead of the Steel City derby.

Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri was so impressed with his efforts that he matched the amount he’d raised, taking it to a grand total of £10,000.

Shay’s dad Jason O’Grady, from Ecclesfield, said: “We’re all so proud of Shay for what he’s doing. He’s not a natural swimmer so it’s taken serious dedication to get up every Sunday at 7am and get in the pool.

“It’s not just about the swimming either – it’s all the other little things along the way. He’s been on BBC Radio Sheffield a number of times and he’s spoken to most of the Sheffield Wednesday squad and the chairman about his triathlon. It doesn’t seem to faze him at all.

“To have raised so much already is just fantastic and I know he wants to raise as much as possible for his cousin Evie-Mae who he loves to bits. Everyone just wants to get behind him.”

Evie-May Shay O'GradyEvie-Mae O’Grady Askwith, 9, from Ecclesfield, has an extremely rare chromosome deletion disorder, which means she can’t walk or talk and needs round the clock care. She’s been visiting Bluebell Wood for respite care for a number of years, and all the family are incredibly proud of Shay’s efforts.

After last year’s sponsored walk Mr Chansiri encouraged Shay to go bigger and better with his next challenge, and he’s certainly taken up the gauntlet.

Shay, who goes to St Thomas More Primary in Grenoside, has already completed 192 lengths of his 240 length challenge – which is the equivalent distance from Bramall Lane to Hillsborough.

The grand finale of his challenge is on February 8th when he’ll walk from Hillsborough to Barnsley FC’s Oakwell stadium ahead of the South Yorkshire derby, before tandem cycling with his cousin Karl all the way back.

As well as the triathlon Shay and his dad have done various other fundraisers, including raffling off numerous signed items gifted by Owls’ players, including a pair of Barry Bannan’s football boots.

Sally Baker, Community Fundraising Manger at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’re absolutely blown away by what Super Shay’s achieved so far.

“We’re behind him every step of the way and if you see on him on February 8th make sure you give him a wave and cheer him on.

“He’s a real inspiration and what he’s doing will make a real difference to Evie-Mae and the hundreds of other families we support.”

To support Shay’s Triathlon, click here