Extraordinary People

Mini hero, 6, walks over 600 miles to help uncle with Alzheimer’s

Heidi Barker is raising cash for dementia charity

They say good things come in small packages and that is certainly true of Heidi Barker.

At just six-years-old, this mini philanthropist is bursting with energy and passion to raise money for charity so she can make a difference in the world.

It all started when her great uncle Ian was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, leaving Heidi devastated and also questioning how she could help him and others in a similar position.

Now, her little legs are taking great strides to raise cash for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the country’s leading dementia research charity, dedicated to prevention and cure.

[Credit: Heidi Barker]

We’re not just talking a few yards around the block; she’s going full throttle with a whopping 603 mile virtual walk from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.

In other words, she’s walking the entire length of Great Britain between its two extremities in the southwest and northeast.

Friends, family and local residents have been so impressed with her ambition, that Heidi was recently nominated for our InspoDaily Community Hero Award which recognises outstanding achievements and was crowned runner-up with our InspoDaily Little Star prize.

She’s also made a few celeb fans along the way, with Lorraine Kelly, Matt Le Tissier, and Chris Kamara all tweeting their support for the pint-sized hero.

[Credit: Heidi Barker]

We caught up with Heidi to find out why she kickstarted her mission and what it feels like to be a rising star.

Heidi said: “My uncle Ian has Alzheimer’s and I wanted to do something nice to help him and other people like him too. I wanted to raise some money and I hoped to get £1,000.

“I have walked 180 miles so far and raised over £5,000. I’m nearly a third finished. I have no idea what I might raise now.”

Heidi is also using the experience as a history lesson and learning about UK culture as she passes through each town with her mum and dad along the way.

As well as having a flair for altruism, Heidi also loves to make people cheerful and there is nothing more she relishes than raising a smile on her neighbours’ faces.

[Credit: Heidi Barker]

Heidi explained: “I just always want people to be happy. If someone doesn’t seem happy, then I want to do something to make them happy.

“I have lots of lovely neighbours and during lockdown they seemed to be stuck in their house a lot. I thought I’d try and see if I could make them smile and let them know they weren’t on their own.”

And let’s just say Heidi was successful on her quest, making flapjacks to leave on their doorsteps, fetching shopping, and sending jokes or magic tricks on WhatsApp.

She even created quirky challenges, including how many tries it took people to throw a teabag into a mug, in a bid to entertain them and keep boredom at bay.

Heidi concluded: “The thing they liked best was when we fetched and delivered fish and chips for everyone one night.

“Everyone has been so nice about what I’ve done and that I made them laugh.”

She added: “I know my mum and dad and my uncle Ian are very proud of me for what I am doing. I get nice comments on Twitter too which dad reads to me and that is always nice.”

Something tells us this won’t be the last time we hear about Heidi.

Remember, you heard her name here first!

To donate to her fundraiser, click here: Heidi Barker.

To follow Heidi’s antics online, click here: Walk4Alzheimers.

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