Campaign launched to get non-verbal girl from Inverness to London to learn to speak.
Kelly Macrae, mother of eight-year-old non-verbal Amelia Jo Kelly, who has complex needs with global development delay, autism and epilepsy, is calling on people to walk for Amelia in November.
Kelly is hoping to get Amelia appointments with private consultants in London who have an outstanding track record of getting non-verbal children to speak.
She is hoping to raise £3,000 towards the cost of taking Amelia to London for treatment and has launched ‘Walk for Amelia’ for people to do a sponsored walk in November.
“It is 533 miles from Inverness to London so we want people to walk or wheel however much they can manage to help us reach that combined total.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are or even how far you can walk or wheel, whether you do one mile or ten miles, every mile will count towards our fundraising total.
“Amelia has been through a lot in eight years, with seven operations just last year.
“Despite being non-verbal, she still manages to communicate with her family on some level and her father and I are convinced that with the right expertise we will one day hear her voice.
“That’s our dream and that’s what this is all about.”
Amelia will kick off the ‘Walk for Amelia’ campaign with five-year-old Harry Ritchie Mackenzie who was born with a congenital heart defect, treatment for which as a baby resulted in a brain injury that medics said would leave him unable to walk.
In 2021 he completed a 500 metre walk around the grounds of Culloden House Hotel in aid of Maggie’s Highlands cancer care centre. Amelia and Harry will attempt to walk 50m at Drummond School, Inverness.
Staff from Raigmore Hospital, who know and love Amelia and her family, are also getting behind the campaign.
“We’ve been blown away by the reaction we’ve had so far.
“We’ve got 16 people from the children’s ward including nurses (and some their children), play workers and the receptionist signed up.
“A doctor from the ENT department and his family are stepping out for Amelia.
“There are even siblings of children receiving treatment at Raigmore who are walking to school for the whole of November, inspired by our dream to hear Amelia speak.
“It is heart-warming and we thank everybody from the bottom of our hearts.”
Amelia’s three big sisters, Savannah aged 12, Casey aged 19 and Rhea aged 21 are hitting the treadmill to see how many miles they can rack up for Amelia.
Amelia and her family are well known in the Highlands thanks to Amelia’s Young Highlander Awards which was set up by Kelly to recognise inspirational young people in the Highlands.
This year’s event raised £7,500 for NHS Play Specialists and Drummond School.
A former winner of the Sporting Hero award, Ciaran Lennon, kickboxing star from Inverness and WAKO British Champion under-13, and his big brother Aidan, WAKO World Champion under-16, are also planning to clock up the miles for Amelia.
Those wishing to sign up to ‘Walk for Amelia’ can get in touch with Kelly Macrae for a sponsorship form at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Ameliasfundraisingjourney
All money raised by individuals from the sponsored walk can be added to Amelia’s JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kelly-macrae
Everyone who takes part in the sponsored walk will also be automatically entered into a raffle.