These Boots were Made for Walking
Natalia Spence is undertaking a coastal walk of the UK to raise funds for the intensive care unit of Bristol University Hospital, where her daughter Elizabeth sadly passing away on the 10th December 2015. She was a very fit, active and healthy child but on the morning of 22nd November 2015 Elizabeth was taken ill with what was thought to be a simple chest infection. Within hours her condition had quickly deteriorated and she was diagnosed with a rare auto immune condition called secondary HLH. Elizabeth spent 18 days on a life support machine.
Elizabeth was an exceptionally happy little girl with an inquisitive mind and diverse interests who loved ballet dancing, acting and singing. She was thrilled with every opportunity to perform on a real stage. She loved adventure and trips out, especially going on mini expeditions to museums, zoos, wildlife parks, forests, the coast and anywhere else for a fun day out. She had a warm artistic personality, she made pottery, drew pictures, did Kintsugi Japanese craft, and even made an animated film about Wallace and Gromit.
Elizabeth particularly loved animals, she hoped to grow up to become a zoo keeper. She said that she wanted to work in a job where she could stroke animals everyday. She would stroke any animals stuffed or alive.
Natalia has fond memories of taking Elizabeth to the seaside, she was at her happiest there. She now feels comforted and connected to Elizabeth when at the coast. To help deal with her grief Natalia decided to combine these two things in an effort to bring something positive from these tragic circumstances. She decided to undertake a sponsored coastal walk of some 6,000 miles around the entire coastline of the UK mainland. Starting her walk from Durdle Door in Dorset, the last seaside location where Natalia visited with Elizabeth.
Natalia hopes to raise in excess of £100,000 for the national Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal children’s charity, who have given this venture their backing and support. This charity is associated with Bristol Children’s Hospital but also distributes funds across the whole of the UK to children’s hospitals and hospices. The sponsored walk is being undertaken so that the funds raised will have a positive effect on the out come of other children who find themselves in intensive care and in similar circumstances to Elizabeth.
On the Ayrshire Coastal Path section from Girvan to Irvine, Ayr Rotary Club members accompanied Natalia on her journey and as a guest at their Tuesday evening meeting, she was presented with a new pair of walking boots to replace the ones worn out by 1000’s of miles of walking. So far, Natalia has raised in excess of £50,000.