FRIENDS and family of a young girl diagnosed with leukemia are preparing for a dip in the icy North Sea to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.

More than 70 people have so far signed up to the plunge later this month, many in fancy dress, with all proceeds going to CLIC Sargent.

Their brave dip is inspired by 11-year-old Sophie Foster, of Shildon, who was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago.

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Her mother, Paula Foster, 34, said: “The support from the community since Sophie has been diagnosed has been overwhelming.

“When we first had this crazy idea, we put it on Facebook and the response was fantastic, that everybody is willing to run into the sea in February is absolutely amazing."

CLIC Sargent offers financial, emotional and practical support to children and families affected by cancer.

“From the very start, we were given a grant to cover petrol costs as my husband was travelling to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle daily," she added.

“I know I can talk to them when things are bad, but it’s not somebody who is emotionally attached, but somebody who understands what we are going through.”

“Our social worker from CLIC Sargent is like a member of the family now, if we need anything at all I can phone her any time day or night and she’s there.”

Sophie is responding well to her treatment, which finishes in May 2015. CLIC Sargent will continue to support the Foster family throughout.

Mrs Foster added: “It’s having somebody there who deals with everything for you, who contacts your work and your school and will do everything you need to do but can’t. It allowed us to concentrate on Sophie.”

To date, Mrs Foster and her family have raised more than £2,100 for the charity and are hoping to reach £5,000 by the end of the year.

The event takes place on Saturday, February 22 at Seaton Carew and Mrs Foster would like as many people to take part as possible, with the hope that each person will raise at least £5.

For more information search ‘Dip Deep for Kids with Cancer’ on Facebook, or email