Ella Langdale and her family have been staying active whilst raising funds for Chas
A mammoth charity challenge is set to come to an end this weekend.
An inspirational Elgin teenager and her sisters who have smashed their initial fundraising target 12 times over – raising over £2,000 so far – will complete the challenge they started in June for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (Chas) this weekend.
Ella Langdale, 15, a pupil at Forres Academy, has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a complex, rare and severe form of childhood onset epilepsy which leaves her prone to uncontrolled seizures. She also deals with orthopaedic scoliosis, which limits her mobility.
Throughout the last three months, Ella, mum Kristy, 35, and sisters Evie, 13, and Erin, 10, have been assisted in their everyday life by Mairi Stirling and Steph Whytock, two carers from the Chas at Home team. Dad Ross, 36, has had to work abroad with the forces for much of lockdown and hopes to return to his family this September.
With lockdown restrictions easing, the determined sisters have been raising funds and awareness to acknowledge the charity’s support by walking 100 laps – roughly 10 kilometres – around their cul de sac, which is a physically demanding task Ella has enjoyed tackling throughout the summer, spurred on by the local community.
Now, as they approach the finish line (after a brief break to settle back into school), the trio will take on the last two laps at 3pm this Saturday (22 August) and are calling upon their neighbours to accompany them as they break through the finish line (at a responsible distance, of course).
Kristy says that the care Mairi and Steph provide has become invaluable to the family, especially as Ross is often away with work. This is the sisters’ way of saying thank you.
“When we first moved up to Elgin two years ago we were unaware that Chas could help us out, but fortunately the hospital recognised what they could do to help give comfort to Ella and our family in general and us put us in touch. Particularly in this lockdown situation, we have come to realise that without the passion and dedication of Chas, we would have been lost.”
“Mairi and Steph are qualified nurses that help support our family. They play games, help make tea and are just another friendly face in the house and bit of extra support. Despite all the odds, we’ve been able to make some really happy memories this summer, thanks to their help. We know how important it is that Chas keeps on going, and the girls thought it would be nice to give something back.”
All three girls have walked the 98 laps so far together, sometimes dressing up for the occasion, and have smashed their original fundraising target many times over. The first aim was to raise £150, but that total was smashed within 24 hours, with the second and third goals of £300 and £500 reached within three days. At last count, Ella and her sisters had so far raised a phenomenal £2,000.
Kristy continues: “The local enthusiasm for what Ella is doing has been really heartening – neighbours come out to donate and encourage her on her way. We would love for anyone from the area to come out and join us for a socially distant stroll through the last two laps on Saturday.”
Ruathy Donald, community fundraiser for Chas, said: “The response to Ella’s challenge has been a real beacon for Chas in the northwest of Scotland and has helped keep us visible when families need us the most. Fundraisers like Ella are helping us sustain services. On behalf of the Chas at Home team and the charity in general, we are humbled that the Langdale family have gone to all these efforts. Myself, Steph and Mairi are going to enjoy accompanying them over that finish line.”
In a touch of serendipity, the Langdale sisters 100 lap challenge crosses the finish line as Chas begins its own Run 100, Raise 100 challenge, which commences on 1 September.
Donald added: “The number 100 is particularly symbolic for Chas this month. The Run 100, Raise 100 challenge is the perfect way to get fit and healthy as we start to leave lockdown – cover 100 km in September and fundraise £100 for children and families.
“The challenge is easy: Simply pledge to run – or walk, dance, cycle, whatever you feel capable of – 100 km over the course of September and agree to fundraise a minimum commitment of £100, all in support of children with life shortening conditions and their families across Scotland.
“To sign up, join our closed Facebook group where our friendly admins will keep you updated, where you can ask advice, chat to other Run 100 participants and share your training experiences in preparation for a successful Run 100 Raise 100 Challenge. Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a welcome email packed with virtual fundraising tips and other virtual goodies. You’ll also receive your very own Chas exercise T-shirt to wear proudly as you work your way through the 100 km.
“Once you’ve smashed your challenge on or by 30 September, you’ll receive a limited edition online tile to share with social media followers, a thank you letter, certificate and a Chas medal.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of families, staff and members of the public who have signed up so far and would love to see more!”
You can donate to Ella's fundraiser at https://www.gofundme.com/f/ellas-100-laps-for-chas