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Elizabeth’s Footprint Fundraising Walk

PUBLISHED: 16:00 02 February 2016

Natalia Spencer with her daughter Elizabeth

Natalia Spencer with her daughter Elizabeth

Archant

On the 10th December 2015 Natalia Spencer’s daughter, Elizabeth, passed away at the age of five, victim to a very rare illness. As a result she is about to begin a charity crusade around the British coast as she battles her grief.

Elizabeth was taken ill at home in Cheltenham with a relatively common virus which then triggered an auto immune condition known as Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). HLH is a very rare condition (affecting around 1.5 in 1,000,000 people) where the body’s own immune system goes into “overdrive” to fight an infection or virus. In Elizabeth’s case this meant her body went into septic shock, shutting down her major organs and the blood supply to her limbs and extremities. Elizabeth was put on full life support but died following a brave seventeen day fight for her life in the intensive care unit at Bristol University Children’s Hospital.

Her working mother, Natalia was devastated by the loss of Elizabeth and has been struggling to come to terms with her grief.

‘I have fond memories of taking Elizabeth to the seaside; I find comfort when I am at the coast. Walking is also good therapy for me. To help deal with my grief I have decided to combine these two things in an effort to bring something positive from these tragic circumstances. I am planning to undertake a sponsored costal walk of some 6,000 miles around the entire coastline of the UK mainland. I will be starting the walk from Durdle Dore in Dorset (the last seaside location that I visited with Elizabeth).

All of the sponsorship and donations I raise will be given to the national Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal children’s charity. This charity is associated with Bristol Children’s Hospital but also distributes funds across the whole of the UK to children’s hospitals and hospices. I am supported by a team of people and well-wishers, and will be updating various national and local media organisations on my progress via the team and daily blogs. ‘

‘I hope to raise in excess of £100,000 for the charity, which has given this venture their backing and support. The sponsored walk is being undertaken so that the funds raised will have a positive effect on the outcome of other children who find themselves in intensive care and in similar circumstances to Elizabeth. It is our hope that the funds raised and the challenge of the walk, will be a fitting memorial for my daughter. Furthermore, it will allow her memory to live on through the interactions with the people I meet along the journey and those who will be touched by her legacy in some way.’

‘I have a fully integrated website [www.elizabethsfootprint.com] which will expansively feature coverage of my walk with regular ‘live’ broadcasts [first interview attached] and podcasts. It will fully acknowledge the help I receive from sponsors and supporters.’

‘I am currently in training for the walk in respect of ‘boots on the ground’ and tailored diet. I am taking advice from people who have completed the walk and have undertaken similar charitable endeavours. I will be supported by an infrastructure of friends and supporters and other organisations and individuals as the walk grows organically and gains its own momentum.’

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