A PASSIONATE ballerina from north Dorset has inspired a team of friends to take part in the London Marathon, after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

The eight-strong running team, which includes eight-year-old Torri Stranger's mum Natalie, has already raised £18,000 for Children with Cancer UK, and is hoping to take the total to £30,000.

Torri was diagnosed with the disease just two days after last year's London Marathon. She then spent more than two months at Southampton General Hospital where she underwent chemotherapy, lumber punctures and bone marrow tests, as well as an operation for an abscess in her leg.

She is now on maintenance therapy, which include daily oral chemotherapy and monthly intravenous chemotherapy, and is due to complete her treatment on August 2020. Despite being unwell, she has continued to pursue her passion of dance, and practices twice a week at TLW Dance in Shaftesbury.

Mum Natalie, 45, a beautician and first-time marathon runner, said: "Children with Cancer UK’s focus on investing money into specialist research to help save the lives of children with cancer was the leading factor behind our decision to run for this charity. Research will lead to better and kinder ways of treating cancer that don’t result in children getting so sick.

“Cancer diagnosis happens suddenly and throws you, and your family, into a world where things are really scary. Cancer is something no child should ever have to face.”

Team Torri, all of whom are novice runners, are taking part in weekly training sessions and have so far completed a 16-mile run.

Natalie added: “Training has been a kind of therapy for me – it takes the leukaemia situation out of my head. The support of others has also been brilliant and just knowing we are doing something to help other children and families going through this in the future makes it all worthwhile."

Visit justgiving.com/natalie-stranger to donate.