Friends Swim For Coeliac Awareness

by Melissa Craib

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Peter Gillet, Gilly Herbert, Zoe Stuart and Mr Stuart. Three children at the front are Gilly Herberts children, Megan Stuart and Rosie Dick picture to be used for Charity PR

A YOUNG girl from Dunfermline has completed a swimathon to raise over £1,000 for the charity which supported her when she was diagnosed with Coeliac disease.

Inspired by Coeliac Awareness Week, Megan Stuart (10), and her friend Rosie Dickson (9), donated an incredible £1,417.73 to the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC), which supports the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Megan was diagnosed with Coeliac disease five years ago, and was inspired to take on the challenge to give something back to the charity, which helped her to have a more positive hospital experience. The two friends completed a one mile swim – 64 lengths – at Carnegie Leisure Centre in under an hour.

Zoe Stuart, Megan’s mum, said: “Megan was really keen to give something back to the department as she has been under Dr. Gillett’s care since she was diagnosed.

“Megan had asked him how she could help the department and when he suggested she could do some fundraising if she wanted she started thinking of different activities she could do right away.”

Edinburgh has the highest published figures of Coeliac disease in the UK, with 36.7 children per 100,000 being diagnosed. Dr. Peter Gillett has run the Gastroenterology Department in the RHSC for the past 17 years and in that time has noticed the number of diagnoses increasing.

He said: “Now more than ever there is an increased awareness of the condition, which is causing many parents who suspect that their children might have a form of gluten intolerance to get tested.

“In 2010, we diagnosed 31 new children with the condition and this has since jumped to 81 new diagnoses in 2016.”

The funds raised will be combined with those from fellow fundraiser Gilly Herbert – who has three children that were diagnosed as Coeliac from birth – and will be used to support the RHSC’s Gastroenterology Department to research better communication for new patients.

Dr. Gillett added: “With such an increased awareness, it’s essential that we continue to research the disease and find new ways in which we can help those who are living with it.

“We’re extremely grateful to Megan, Rosie and Gilly for all their efforts in raising the funds which enable us to keep doing this important work.

“Thanks to them, we are now going to start piloting children’s group sessions, which have never been done before, so we’re very excited to see what the outcome of these will be.”

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity support and complement the work of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC) as well as other children’s healthcare settings across Scotland.

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