TEAMS of families donned their walking boots and took part in a seven mile walk around Edinburgh to raise a staggering £13,000 to support children in hospital.
The sponsored walk was the first of its kind organised by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation - which supports the work of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC) - and saw 80 walkers of all ages come together to help raise the important funds.
Entitled ‘Great Strides’, the family friendly event kicked off from the Edinburgh Meadows, opposite the present Sick Kids hospital, and headed along The Innocent Railway to Craigmillar Castle, adjacent to the site of Edinburgh’s new children’s hospital, and back.
Fundraisers were joined by Katie Ford - epilepsy blogger, Olympic torchbearer and the first Scot and youngest British female to complete the 3000 mile race across America. Katie was diagnosed with severe epilepsy at the age of nine, and received life-changing brain surgery at the RHSC.
Katie said: “Walking represents an independence that I wouldn’t have, had it not been for the hospital and incredible luck of being eligible for Neurosurgery. Surgery that, without the Sick Kids Friends Foundation’s fundraising for equipment, I wouldn’t have known I was even eligible for.
“It was fantastic to take part in Great Strides. It was a great challenge and the SKFF deserve every penny raised by the fundraisers as it is a truly worthwhile cause that works so hard to create a positive hospital experience for children and really can change lives for individuals, such as myself.”
Laura Wilson, whose little brother has previously also used the services of the RHSC, took part fundraising walk and raised an impressive total of £2,133.77 for the charity.
She said: “After watching my little brother’s life nearly being taken away from him, I felt totally helpless.
“Now, having raised over £2,000 for SKFF, I feel I have been able to support lots of families and children who are dealing with illnesses just like my brother Cameron.”
All funds raised from the sponsored walk will go towards supporting the RHSC’s move to a new, purpose-built home at Little France in 2017.
Pippa Johnston, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at the SKFF, said: “This is a really exciting time for Edinburgh with the much loved ‘Sick Kids’ hospital moving to a new home, and we are incredibly grateful to all the families who took part and helped us raise such a substantial amount.
“The Sick Kids Friends Foundation is committed to providing the same invaluable support to the new children’s hospital at Little France as we have given for many years to the current hospital here at Sciennes.
“Indeed, by the time the new hospital opens its doors to children and young people, SKFF will have contributed some £3 million worth of art and therapeutic design enhancements.
“Once the hospital opens, SKFF will continue our vital work to ensure that children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness, they have a positive experience of hospital and their families continue to be supported and comforted.”
The Great Strides fundraiser proved so successful that The Sick Kids Friends Foundation is set to hold another walking challenge in Spring 2017.