BLAKE Downes is the epitome of what it means to be an older brother.
The young Yanco Public School student, who is seven, is currently putting his best foot forward to raise money for premature babies - a cause that is close to the heart of his family.
Blake's younger brother Jack was born at 34 weeks when his family was living in Mount Isa.
Jack, now four, was born in Townsville, some 900 kilometres away from the family home. Mother, Emily Downes, said Jack was born early and wasn't breathing.
He spent four months in the NICU in Townsville before being transferred to Brisbane where he was in the PICU for a further two months.
"Jack was six months old before he came home," Mrs Downes said.
"At that time Blake was three and Paige, our daughter, was 18 months. I was with Jack the whole time.
"My mum flew from England to help my husband with the kids back in Mount Isa."
To raise awareness of their cause and to help fundraise to purchase vital equipment used by premature babies, Blake is completing 29,500 steps every day with the help of his mum until August 21.
In the end, that will equate to around 900 kilometres, which is the distance Blake, his sister, dad and grandmother would travel to go and visit Jack when he was in hospital in Townsville.
Despite only starting the challenge a couple of weeks ago, Blake is already smashing his goals, walking the equivalent 786 kilometres so far.
His friends at Yanco Public School will also be helping him out along the way before he and his family then head to Sydney to take part in a fun run called Running for Premature Babies.
Blake is also fundraising throughout his journey and residents can tip in a few extra dollars to the cause to assist his efforts.
Meanwhile, Jack continues to grow stronger everyday, but he does have several battles ahead.
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"The prognosis when he was first born was that he wouldn't talk, wouldn't walk, wouldn't feed," Mrs Downes said.
"He has had lots of therapy with Therapies for Kids in Narrandera, but he now walks, talks, runs, plays, does everything.
"There's still some challenges ahead for him, we're still going through genetic testing because they still aren't sure exactly what condition Jack does have. He was on supports for two years.
"If he had a common cold, he would end up in hospital.
"We wanted to raise some money to help other babies and awareness as well."
Residents wanting to help Blake with his efforts can donate here.
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