Jul 2 2010 by Jackie Grant, Dumfries Standard Friday
WHEN Heather Bradley’s baby daughter Skye was diagnosed with viral meningitis, it felt like history was repeating itself.
Fifteen years before, Heather’s twin sister Sarah was critically ill after contracting E-Coli, and spent months in Glasgow’s Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.
Luckily, Sarah and Skye, now aged three, both pulled through, and Heather is on a mission to raise as much money as possible for the Yorkhill Children’s Foundation.
She credits the dedication of the hospital and nursing staff for making a very difficult time for her family a little easier.
The 23-year-old from Dumfries, who now lives in Glasgow, said: “We were only eight-years-old when Sarah fell ill, but I wasn’t allowed to see her for a very long time because she was in the high dependency unit at one point and we were told she might not make it.
“The E-Coli she had developed into kidney failure.
“The Yorkhill Children’s Foundation provides teachers for the young patients and, when she was recovering, I used to go the hospital and have school lessons with her.
“My family also stayed at Ronald McDonald House, which provides free accommodation for the families of long-term and critically ill patients at the hospital, so that we could be close to Sarah.
“She eventually made a complete recovery and has had no problems since her stay in Yorkhill.”
It wasn’t until little Skye was admitted to the hospital at eight-weeks-old with viral meningitis that Heather realised how important Yorkhill Hospital is to people all over the country.
“That’s when I could see it from a mum’s point of view,” she said.
“It was a hellish time, but Yorkhill Children’s Foundation really helps families and I decided that my New Year’s resolution this year would be to raise as much money for the foundation as possible.”
With the help of older sister Fiona Stewart from Dumfries – who also has a twin sister Judi – Heather raised £3,500 at a ladies night held in Glasgow recently.
“It was a fantastic night, and around 80 women travelled to the event from Dumfries.
“A guest speaker from the foundation came along to tell us the money we raised would be spent on scanning equiptment, research and even clown doctors for the children!
“On the night, we released balloons in memory of the children who lost their fight in the children’s hospital, and one for the children who carry on their fight.
“We will also be holding a fancy dress night in Locharbriggs Social Club in September and I’d be delighted should any local companies donate to our raffle.”
Heather, who is now training to be a nurse herself, added: “Sarah lives in Dundee now and is very supportive of Fiona and me from a distance.
“We get a sense of satisfaction knowing the money we help raise will be put to good use.
“When a child has a serious illness or is injured and requires special treatment, they often have to travel far from home to receive the medical care they need.
“It’s really important that people realise that Yorkhill is for children from all over the country including Dumfries and Galloway.
“That’s why we want to raise funds for such a vital institution.”
For more information on the event at Locharbriggs Social Club, telephone Heather on 07733290985.