Super schoolboy Struan Waddell, from Edinburgh, raised more than £2500 in one day to help provide lifeline support for families across Scotland who are impacted by Huntington’s disease.
The dedicated young man took on the Seven Hills of Edinburgh and, accompanied by his dad Scott, took just over five hours to conquer Castle Rock, Corstorphine Hill, Craiglockhart Hill, Braid Hill, Blackford Hill, Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill.
Every step was fuelled by love for his Granny Lorna (68) who has Huntington’s, an incurable neurological disease with severe physical, psychological and mental symptoms. Its devastating toll on families is compounded further by the reality that each child of a person with the disease is at 50% risk of inheriting it too.
As Scottish Huntington’s Association is the only charity in Scotland dedicated exclusively to supporting people and families affected by the disease, Struan was keen to make sure his fundraising will help to make a real difference.
Struan said: “Granny can struggle with talking, eating, movement, balance and thinking, and I know Scottish Huntington’s Association does a lot for people who have this illness by making life easier for them and their families.
“I’ve been involved in fundraising before but this time I wanted to do something for Granny. I received lots of donations from family and friends, and there were also some from people I don’t know, which was great.”
Struan’s fundraising is already helping to fund SHA’s lifeline services, which include a network of HD Specialists, Youth Advisors and a Financial Wellbeing Service.
His mum Karen said: “When Mum was diagnosed in 2013 it was a shock for all of us because we have no family history of the illness.
“Since then, she has had terrific support from the Scottish Huntington’s Association and also from the SHA Edinburgh and Lothian Family Branch support group, which is run by Dina di Sousa.
“We’re very proud of Struan, he was determined to complete the challenge for his Granny and raise so much to help other families.”
SHA’s Head of Income Generation, Lee Johnstone, said: “SHA is a small charity that makes a big difference to families, so Struan can be sure that every step he took and every pound he raised is going a long way to reach families with the right support.
“We understand he’s also been raising awareness about Huntington’s at school amongst his classmates, which is so important because this is a disease that, even today, is misunderstood or not known about by many people. Thank you Struan!”