MUM Gail Fyfe is swapping the cold of Clarkston for sunny Florida this week – all in aid of children with life-threatening illnesses.
The 51-year-old mother of three has flown across the Atlantic with 22 children and their families on the Caudwell Children’s Destination Dreams programme, which helps sick youngsters enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.
Health visitor Gail applied earlier this year after spotting a newspaper advert on volunteering.
She is now one of 30 volunteers who support the families every step of the way, ensuring that the stars of the trip enjoy a stress-free holiday to Disney World – sometimes their first and only break away, because of high medical dependency.
She explained: I’ve always wanted to do something in a voluntary capacity and this challenge seemed to fit my circumstances.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I feel that my work as a health visitor gives me an insight into how challenging being a parent to a child with disabilities can be”.
The Clarkston woman also had to raise funds towards the trip, bringing in £2,500 from the East Renfrewshire community.
She continued: “It’s due to the generosity of family, friends and colleagues, who all got right behind me.
“I organised a fashion show with a friend’s clothes shop, and staged a raffle with tremendous prizes, many from local restaurants and businesses.
“The local Glen and McCready family centres organised dress purple days, and two good friends made tablet which we sold in our local butcher’s – so it was a real community effort.
“Everyone has been tremendous in their support and I can’t thank them enough”.
Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, thanked Gail for her help on the trip and issued a call for more East Ren residents to volunteer.
She commented: “Without the support of volunteers like Gail, Destination Dreams couldn’t go ahead, due to the amount of additional support needed for the trip.
“In return, volunteering offers new life experiences, can boost a person’s CV and provide new skills”.
The Extra will be catching up with Gail when she returns to Clarkston – meanwhile, anyone wishing to find out more can call 01782 600443 or visit www.caudwellchildren.com.