Fundraising hero Natalia Spencer is lacing up her walking boots once again as she embarks on her third major fundraising 'Walk of Love', which will reflect the last journey her daughter Elizabeth took before tragically passing away in December 2015.
Setting off on Mother’s Day (Sunday, 11th March) at Cheltenham Hospital, where her daughter Elizabeth was first admitted in December 2015, she will go on to repeat Elizabeth’s last ever journey, heading west to Gloucester Royal Hospital and eventually to Bristol Children’s Hospital on Elizabeth’s birthday, Tuesday, 29th May.
While retracing Elizabeth’s last journey to Bristol Children’s Hospital, Natalia will shine a light on the huge geographical area that the hospital covers as a specialist regional centre of paediatric care. Aiming to walk 1000 miles in 70 days, Natalia will pass through the catchment area of the hospital, visiting 30 hospitals – from Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon – which refer poorly babies and children for further, specialist treatment in Bristol.
Elizabeth was taken ill in November 2015 with a relatively common virus which triggered an autoimmune condition known as Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). This rare condition caused Elizabeth’s body to go into septic shock, shutting down her major organs and cutting off the blood supply to her limbs. Elizabeth spent 18 days on life support in Bristol children’s hospital, but despite doctors’ best efforts, she passed away on 10 December 2015.
Natalia said: “Retracing that last journey to Bristol children’s hospital is going to be incredibly tough for me personally, but what keeps me going is that with each step I take, each person I meet, and each penny I raise, I am keeping Elizabeth’s memory alive and creating a legacy in her name.
“Raising awareness of the lifesaving work by the many teams of Bristol children’s hospital is so important to me. While my Elizabeth lost her battle to a rare, aggressive condition, I am grateful every single day for the level of care they provided not just to her, but also to her family in an absolutely devastating time. My grief will stay with me forever, but so will my eternal thanks for their expertise, their care and their compassion.”
It’s hard to find the right words to describe Natalia and her fierce commitment to improving the lives of other sick children in Elizabeth’s memory. She is an inspirational, determined and exceptional fundraiser, and above all else a grieving mother trying to deal with this profound loss and bring something good from it. So please, help Natalia along the way during her walk and donate by visiting www.justgiving.com/Natalia-Spencer or texting ELIF55 and your donation amount to 70070.
Money raised will help to buy life-saving equipment for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital and help to protect other parents from the heartache Natalia endures each day.