SCOTTISH disability campaigner Olivia Giles is appealing to Scots to take part in a special fundraising event to help bring life-changing benefits to African amputees.
The Edinburgh-based lawyer became a quadruple amputee 12 years ago when she caught meningococcal septicaemia which forced surgeons to amputate her hands and lower legs in order to save her life.
She has since become a high -profile advocate for amputees, in particular those living in some of the poorest parts of Africa who are forced to crawl on the ground or limp around on home-made wooden legs.
The 48-year-old’s charity 500 Miles now runs two clinics in Malawi with plans to open a third in Zambia, and she now wants to raise £500,000 to help African amputees walk again by getting Scots to sit down for a global dinner party on 7 March.
The charity is hosting the Big Dinner event - which can be eaten anywhere and by anyone as long as a £25 registration fee is paid and there is broadband access.
Celebrities such as comics Fred MacAulay, Elaine C Smith and Hardeep Singh Kohli, will join participants in being linked up by social media, while two short films about the work of 500 Miles will be broadcast to show how the charity is changing lives.
Ms Giles said: “Amputees are looked after in this country [the UK] in terms of prosthetics and orthotics and I had a growing awareness this wasn’t the case in other countries, particularly in developing nations. The thought of that, when I related it to my own fears of waking up in hospital and discovering what had happened to me…
“I found it appalling to think there were people in that position who were then literally left to crawl on the ground.”