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PR in Edinburgh Helps Get Out Appeals to Families for Charity

by Alicia Simpson

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

An Olympic torchbearer is set to join fundraisers on a seven mile charity walk to support children in hospital and is calling out for teams of families to get involved and help raise £24,000.

Katie Ford – the epilepsy blogger and the first Scot and youngest British female to complete the 3000 mile race across America – will start and join the ‘Great Strides’ sponsored walkers around Edinburgh on Sunday 4th September.

The walk is organised by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation which supports the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC), of which Katie was a patient for five years.

Katie was diagnosed with severe epilepsy at the age of nine, and received life-changing brain surgery at the RHSC, which dramatically reduced her seizures from approximately 4600 a year to an average of just one.

After carrying the Olympic flame on the penultimate day of the 2012 London Olympic Torch Relay, Katie donated her own Torch to the hospital. It now has pride of place at the end of the corridor in Ward 7 where she herself was treated, and is used as a milestone for children to reach when they are relearning to walk.
Katie said: “If it wasn’t for the RHSC, Ward 7 and the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, I wouldn’t have been in a position to carry the Olympic torch in the first place.

“Thanks to them, my epilepsy, and my life, is now completely transformed. It felt only right that my Olympic torch should live in the place that helped so much in allowing me to take part in the cycling that led to my Torchbearer Nomination, and it’s truly humbling to feel it is inspiring other children who are learning to walk again after major surgery.

“I’m really excited to now be involved with Great Strides, to support these incredible fundraisers with their own challenge.”

The charity, with Katie’s help, is aiming to encourage up to 100 families to come along and don their fundraising boots to help raise the important funds.
The family friendly event will kick off from the Edinburgh Meadows, opposite the present Sick Kids hospital, and head along The Innocent Railway to Craigmillar Castle, adjacent to the site of Edinburgh’s new children’s hospital, and back.

Katie continued: “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 if I was even eligible for.

“I would encourage anyone who is keen to sign up for Great Strides to do so as soon as possible and get involved. It’s 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 can change lives for individuals, such as myself.”

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, for which the SKFF has committed to contribute £2.9million in enhancements, patient/family services and therapies.

Pippa Johnston, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at the SKFF, said: “We are calling for people of all ages and abilities to enter now. This is a really exciting time for Edinburgh with the much loved ‘Sick Kids’ hospital moving to a new home.

“We exist to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness. We provide enhanced facilities and cutting edge equipment and it is the generosity of those who get involved in events like this one, like Katie, that allows us to continue doing this.”

Adult entry for ‘Great Strides’ is £15 per person, with a minimum sponsorship of £50. Children’s entry is £5 with a minimum sponsorship of £25. All participants will receive a goody bag donated by Spar, a t-shirt and a fundraising pack.

To enter, visit the SKFF website at: www.edinburghsickkids.org

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Private: Alicia Simpson

The profile and biography of public relations professional Alicia Simpson, a junior account executive with award-winning Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh.

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