Seven furry alpacas, led by a doting Edinburgh mum, are set to take to the hills of the capital to raise money for a local children’s charity.
CATHERINE Loftus, her son Thomas and the pack of Peruvian alpacas, alongside a team of 21 local children and adults are undertaking a sponsored trek of the Pentland Hills to fundraise for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF) – a charity close to their hearts.
When Catherine’s son Thomas was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC) aged four with appendicitis, SKFF provided the support and facilities so that the family could have a positive hospital stay.
Now, she is rallying the trek to raise funds and awareness of SKFF and to give something back to the charity after it ensured she and Thomas were well looked after through every step of his operation.
Catherine said: “When we arrived at the RHSC on referral from our GP, we were quickly assessed and SKFF provided DVDS for Thomas to watch to distract and calm him while he got his blood tests.
“When we were in the waiting room, it was filled with toys and books and he was able to read a story to help him fall asleep.
“After the surgery was complete, the nurses had taken the time to find out his interests in order to personalise a certificate full of stickers for him, which made him feel very special.”
The herd of alpacas are from local Edinburgh farm, BobCat Alpacas, which is owned and run by Bob Crosbie, who has generously provided his animals for the event. His core business is caring and breeding for the herd, but they also offer a number of other activities including trekking and therapy, and they harvest and process the fleece in winter.
She added: “SKFF was amazing, not just with Thomas, but also in what they did for me. Having left the house in a rush to take Thomas to hospital, I had not packed an overnight bag but I was provided with toiletries, a shower, and a fold down bed so I could stay with him.
“And when I was stressed that Thomas would not take his medication, I was welcomed into the Drop In Centre where I was given friendly advice, a cup of coffee and even a massage.
“I appreciated these little touches so much as they made my stay much more comfortable. Going home, Thomas said it had been like going on holiday.”
Susan Diamond, Community Fundraising Manager at SKFF, said: “We wish Catherine, Thomas and the alpaca gang luck in their trek and we’re so grateful that they have selected us as their chosen cause.
“We strive to continually support children and their families through enhanced facilities and state of the art equipment to ensure they have a positive hospital experience. It is fundraisers like Catherine who allow us to continue to do this.”
To help Catherine raise as much as possible, you can donate to her SKFF fundraising page here – https://teamskff.everydayhero.com/uk/alpaca-walk-team
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