Surrey boy, 12, raises thousands for national epilepsy charity by running one mile every day

Something special is happening in a small village in Surrey.
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Through rain, shine, bitter cold, early mornings, and dark evenings one 12-year-old has shown unwavering determination to reach his goal.

Zac Knight, 12, has run over a mile every day of 2024 without fail. Diagnosed with epilepsy in 2020, Zac is completing a herculean challenge this year, running at least a mile for every student at local St Piers School and College to raise money for Young Epilepsy.

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St Piers is an innovative and creative special school and college in Lingfield for young people with special educational needs and disabilities – it is also the home of national charity, Young Epilepsy.

Zac Knight, 12, has run over a mile every day of 2024 without fail. Pictures contributedZac Knight, 12, has run over a mile every day of 2024 without fail. Pictures contributed
Zac Knight, 12, has run over a mile every day of 2024 without fail. Pictures contributed

From January to July Zac will run wearing the name of a different student from St Piers each day in recognition and support of the challenges they face. The challenge culminates in Zac running a full half marathon on the last day to celebrate. A total of more than 185 miles!

In just the first few weeks of the challenge, support has been overwhelming - Zac has already raised more than £7,500!

With months remaining, along with the grand finale of a full half marathon ending at the St Piers campus in July, this grassroots fundraising effort has snowballed into something much bigger.

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After his local rugby club, Old Reigatians, joined him for a run Zac’s story was featured by the England Rugby Team, with a special shout out from England captain, Jamie George and teammate Tommy Freeman who has recently spoken publicly about his own epilepsy diagnosis.

Zac has been out running with his mum and dadZac has been out running with his mum and dad
Zac has been out running with his mum and dad

Zac said: “It felt surreal to run a mile with my rugby team. It’s a bit like an extended family and I love rugby, it’s very fun. Seeing the shout-out from Jamie and Tommy made me so happy that they’ve heard about what I’m doing. This is my biggest ever fundraising challenge, and I know I have a long way to go, but the support I’ve received so far has just made even more determined to carry on.”

Zac’s dad, James Knight added: “Zac was diagnosed with epilepsy at the start of lockdown, when he was only 8 years old. Young Epilepsy supported us at the time and helped us understand Zac’s diagnosis. Ever since Zac has fundraised for them running a mile for every year of his age - he raised £2,500 the first year running eight miles.

“In addition to supporting families like ours, the charity also has St Piers school and college for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. This year Zac decided to take on his biggest challenge yet. We run together at 7am before school or in the dark after with a head torch. Once he’s done his 172 miles he’ll set out from home and run a 13.5-mile half-marathon distance with the finishing line at St Piers where the students can cheer him in.”

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Thanks to Zac’s outstanding fundraising efforts over the years, 2023 saw him shortlisted for a prestigious National Diversity Award in the Positive Role Model category.

Sally Brighton, director of fundraising and communications at Young Epilepsy said: “Zac is a shining example of a young person with an outstanding dedication to helping others, despite facing challenges of his own.

This year Zac has succeeded in creating his own phenomenon with support coming in thick and fast we are excited to see where this challenge will take him and are behind the Knight family every step of the way. Fundraisers like Zac are vital in providing services and support for children and young people with epilepsy. We are immensely proud of him."

Donate to Zac’s Great Big Run 2024 here.

Young Epilepsy provides a host of information and advice for young people, families, clinicians and more on their website www.youngepilepsy.org.uk.

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