CARA’S 10 OUT OF 10
Milestone challenges are complete
An amazing Strath woman who overcame a lifethreatening illness has raised a fantastic amount for the charity that helped her get her confidence back.
Crieff ’s Cara Tavendale decided to mark the 10th anniversary of her life-changing health condition with 10 challenges and events, including a triathlon, Santa run, ceilidh and musical events during 2017 to raise money for Over The Wall.
In 2007, Cara fell seriously ill after her appendix burst, resulting in a lengthy stay in hospital and leaving her with multiple life-threatening complications, such as sepsis, and issues she still has to deal with today, including having to use a feeding tube.
Lesser-known charity - Over The Wall - helped Cara to get her life back
Cara’s fundraising will now have a significant impact on helping us provide more children with the opportunity to experience the wonder of our camps
And on December 31, Cara announced that she had surpassed her 10 for 10 challenge expectations, raising £12,700.61 for the good cause.
Over The Wall is part of the Serious Fun network, founded by the actor Paul Newman, who in his own words, wanted sick kids to be able to “kick back and raise a little hell”. The charity organises special camps for the children where they can do just that.
A sporty and outgoing teenager before her illness, Cara found it hard to adjust when she finally went back to school, her condition having greatly knocked her confidence. Over The Wall came to the rescue. The inspirational 23-year-old leisure assistant told the Herald: “Over The Wall means a lot to me. Basically you learn to have fun again.
“I’m quite a positive person but before I went to camp I didn’t quite know where to put myself because when I got ill I was in second year and that is when your groups of friends are changing so when I went back to school all my friends were in new groups.
“Over The Wall gave me my confidence back to go out and do things and be myself.
“We also attended family camps. The camps are fully medically run with doctors and nurses and even though it is all sick kids there, you wouldn’t know. Illness is just not mentioned. even though it is all part of it.
“Often we just do ordinary every day activities that the children have missed out on, such as drama and crafts, but then they may also do activities such as rock climbing. They will always find a way that a kid can take part so even , for example if someone is wheelchair bound, they will find a way of getting that kid up the climbing wall.
“You would have the sick kids’ camp for one week and then the following week the siblings would come for the siblings’ camp.”
Cara’s sisters Iona and Shoni also benefited from the camps and Cara and Iona still go along as volunteers with Shoni now working at an Over The Wall camp in Ireland.
As well as raising money, Cara has also raised a lot of awareness for the camps, which have been held locally at Tulliallan, Glenalmond and Strathallan School.
And now she’s a volunteer Cara notices for herself the difference that camp makes to a child. “You see these shy kids coming in that don’t know where to put themselves and by the end of the week something has changed. It’s very difficult to describe what it’s all about as it’s like a little bubble in camp but it’s a beneficial bubble.”
Cara is not only a champion fundraiser, she is also a talented musician and is using these talents to raise awareness of her beloved charity. A pharmaceutical company sponsored Cara £ 1000 to sing for them in Barcelona after seeing her perform at the Serious Fun gala event in London with Iona.
Cara added: “Thank you so much to everyone that has donated throughout the year, and of course a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way with the challenges. I could not have done it without all of your generous support.”
Kevin Mathieson, CEO of Over The Wall, praised Cara’s dedication.
He told the Herald: “Cara’s fundraising will now have a significant impact on helping us provide more children with health challenges, the opportunity to experience the wonder of our camps.”
Cara is putting her fundraising activities on hold meantime and is now looking forward to taking part in the Soundwaves Music Competition.
She will be performing at the showcase at Glasgow’s O2 on February 10, having made her way through three rounds of auditions to get to the final.
Fun-loving Cara, who works for Live Active, is also a volunteer with OTW Talent Cara was invited to perform at a pharmaceutical company’s gala event in return for a donation of £1000 towards her fundraising efforts
Support Mum Cat Tavendale and Live Active’s Eilidh Boyle and Lynsey Whyte help Cara to the finish line of her triathlon challenge
Family Cara with her sisters Mhairi, Iona, and Shoni, mum and dad Cat and Ewan, and family friend Flora McKeddie at the final event - the Santa run
Ceilidh Cara with Alisdair Kay and Ross Ewing of the Hairy Coo Band
Musical Cara busking for OTW in Oxford with friends Ace and Sky Manthey
Sporting Cara completes her triathlon challenge