Young rugby player from Leighton Buzzard takes on marathon challenge for mental health charity

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A 9-year-old rugby player from Leighton Buzzard is set to walk a half marathon for a mental health charity after the sport helped her anxiety.

Eilah Giles will be taking on the challenge on June 29 to raise money LooseHeadz – a mental health charity whose aim is to #TackletheStigma around mental health and provide every rugby club in the UK the tools and support to help those in need. She has already smashed her target of £500, having so far raised £565.

Eilah, who plays rugby for Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club, suffers with anxiety and found playing rugby helped give her much needed confidence and an outlet for her anxiety.

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She only took up rugby at the beginning of the 23/24 season and her family say there has been a noticed change in her confidence and reduction in her anxiety attacks.

Eilah, aged 9, is putting her best foot forward by walking the distance of a half marathon for charityEilah, aged 9, is putting her best foot forward by walking the distance of a half marathon for charity
Eilah, aged 9, is putting her best foot forward by walking the distance of a half marathon for charity

Her mum Victoria said: “Last year we took her to her first rugby match at Twickenham to watch the Red Roses and she fell in love with the sport and wanted to start playing. So we took her along to our local rugby club and encouraged her to give it a try.

"She was extremely apprehensive of starting something new but with the guidance of her coaches she overcame that anxiety and came out of her shell.

“She was having attacks almost daily and it was really worrying as we felt helpless as a family. It is a credit to the club and their coaches, who have helped bring her out of herself and given her balance in her life.

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“She said she wanted to help those like her who also suffer with mental health problems, by ensuring the tools and support are available for everyone. We are very proud of her efforts and the training she is putting in, as well as everything she has accomplished and continues to overcome on a daily basis.”

As well as training for the walk, Eilah has also been recording videos and tips to show how she deals with anxiety, in the hopes she can help other people too.

You can sponsor Eilah by donating via her JustGiving page here.

If you wish to support those suffering with mental health problems visit the LooseHeadz website which offers a toolkit of Mental Health resources free of charge.