Kitty goes from wheelchair to the skies

A woman with MS will take on the challenge of her life next week when she embarks on a sponsored microlight flight for respite centre Leuchie House.

Kitty Walker, 62, from Lundin Links, has been coming for respite breaks to Leuchie House several times a year since 2015.  The breaks at Leuchie make such a difference to her that she decided to take on a personal challenge to raise funds for the North Berwick charity.

Formerly a PE teacher at Kirkland High School in Methil, Kitty was diagnosed with MS in 1983.  She has been a wheelchair user for over 20 years, and is unable to weight-bear or transfer from her powered wheelchair onto other equipment independently. This means she needs a hoist to get from her wheelchair into or out of bed or another type of chair. 

On one of her last visits to Leuchie, she realised she sometimes had to wait till a mobile hoist became available to get her in and out of bed in the mornings and evenings because so many people needed to use the few available.  To say thank you to Leuchie for all the care she’d received, she decided to set her sights on raising the £3,000 needed to buy another mobile hoist.

“To me Leuchie is the best place on earth,” explains Kitty. “It’s the one place I can come that has all the care and the equipment that I need to be able to have a holiday. It gives both me and my primary carer, Jan, a break from one another and a chance to fully recharge our batteries.  Raising money to buy another hoist seemed like the ideal way to give something back to Leuchie which lots of people will be able to benefit from.”

Her challenge for Leuchie will be a 30 minute flight in a microlight above the East Lothian countryside and coastline. The Leuchie team will support Kitty to transfer from her wheelchair using a mobile hoist into the tiny aircraft at the East of Scotland Microlight Centre at East Fortune, where she will take off with a qualified microlight pilot.

Leuchie House CEO, Mairi O’Keefe said: “We are delighted that Kitty is going to do this microlight flight for lots of different reasons. One of the things we aim to do at Leuchie, wherever we can, is to give our guests the support they need to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. So being able to help Kitty achieve this personal challenge is exactly what we set out to do.

“Her fundraising support for Leuchie is also a real bonus for us. We have to fundraise to bring in nearly half of the money needed every year to deliver essential respite breaks so help like this makes a big difference.

“And most importantly of all, Kitty is guaranteed to feel a million dollars afterwards which has to be the ultimate outcome!”

Kitty will take off on her microlight flight from the East of Scotland Microlight Centre at East Fortune at 2pm on Tuesday 23 May (weather permitting). 

Anyone wishing to support Kitty can do so at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/FlyingScots

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