A PERSONAL trainer from Omagh is hoping to raise £30,000 for a young Dromore girl with a potentially life-threatening spinal condition by holding a series of charity runs in the coming months.
Damien Crowne, of Personal Health and Fitness, based at the Gortrush Industrial Estate, is aiming to make £10,000 from each of the three runs, the first of which is due to take place at the end of this month.
All proceeds from the events will be donated to the family of three-year-old Maisie McQuaid, who was diagnosed with idiopathic infantile scoliosis, a progressive curvature of the spine, last year. If left untreated, it can decrease life expectancy by deforming the chest wall, meaning that the lungs, heart and other organs could be crushed.
Devastated that initial treatment in the North wasn’t improving her condition, parents Geraldine and Aidan took the decision to send Maisie to Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia, USA, which specialises in treating children with scoliosis.
Since getting fitted with a specially-designed lighter ‘Mehta’ cast at the American hospital at the start of August, the improvement in Maisie’s condition has been substantial. To continue this treatment, the brave three-year-old and her parents will have to return to the hospital every eight weeks for a mimumum of two years.
Maisie is due to fly out to America again at the start of next week for a second ‘Mehta’ cast to be applied.
If the curvature in her spine can be corrected in this way, it will avoid the need for any future invasive surgery.
After hearing about Maisie’s ongoing treatment, Mr Crowne decided to set up the series of family-friendly fundraising runs. “You always think about one of your own when something like that happens,” he said.
The wheels were set in motion after the personal trainer was approached several weeks ago by Noleen Devlin, of Hi-Tec Hair Salon, who knows the McQuaid family well.
To support ‘Maisie’s Journey’, Mr Crowne has organised a total of three events, known as Bronze, Silver and Gold. On each occasion, participants will have the choice of doing either 5k or 10k and can complete the distance by walking, jogging or running.
Each event will start and finish at Personal Health and Fitness, with the emphasis very much on family fun.
The first fundraiser, the Bronze event, is taking place on Sunday, October 28. This will be followed by Silver on Sunday, November 25 and finally Gold on Sunday, January 27 next year.
Patricipants will receive commemmorative medals at each of the races, which are due to start at 10am.
Thanking Damien and his team for their support, Geraldine McQuaid said, “We are so grateful for the kindness and support again from our local area and hope everyone gets a chance to come and join us for a walk or more challenging 10k run to beat your personal best each time.” Anyone interested in taking part in any of the events can either sign up on the day, or contact Personal Health and Fitness or Hi-Tec Hair Salon. The cost per race is £15 for adults and £5 for children.