A Milton Keynes teenager who has battled a heart condition since the age of 12 is set to star in this year's Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need.
Aaliyah, 16, will join presenters Ellie Harrison and Steve Brown in leading a mass ramble through the city of Worcester, where they will take in views of the River Severn and historic sights around the city.
At the age of 12, Aaliyah was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (CDM) – a condition which affects the heart muscle. In Aaliyah’s case, her heart now beats at one third of the rate of everyone else’s, often leaving her feeling fatigued and in need of a wheelchair.
The condition also causes breathlessness and chest pains which has affected her mental health.
With the support of Cardiomyopathy UK, Aaliyah has joined a youth panel where she meets with other young people living with the same condition and is able to talk and raise awareness about how this challenging condition affects her life.
She said: “I’m so excited to be taking part in the Countryfile Ramble with Ellie and Steve – I love Countryfile, so it makes it all the more special for me.
"One of my favourite things is being in the countryside and in particular being outside of my nan’s home, taking photos of the wildlife that surrounds her, it’s so therapeutic; so I can wait to head to Worcester to take part in this year’s ramble.”
In Milton Keynes, BBC Children in Need currently funds 4 projects to a value of more than £119,000. In Worcester, where Aaliyah will be rambling with Ellie Harrison and Steve Brown, BBC Children in Need currently funds 6 projects to a value of more than £300,000.
Since the Countryfile Ramble began in 2015, more than 4,500 people have joined the presenters on their rambles across the UK, collectively racking up thousands of miles.
This year, the public can join teams of walkers across the UK hosting a Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need or set up their own and join the thousands rambling across the nations.
To put on your own ramble, visit our Ramble Hub at www.bbc.c.uk/Pudsey to get walking and raising money for the charity.
The walks will take place in October and will be broadcast as an extended programme: The Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need, on BBC One, Sunday 27th October.