Mile­stone chal­lenges are com­plete

Strathearn Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Lynn Duke

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

on track.

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

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