A Tullibody mum has followed in her daughter’s tracks when she tackled her first triathlon to raise funds for SBH Scotland.
Kirstie Dawson (45) took on the Stirling Super Sprint on June 3, a gruelling test of endurance that requires competitors to swim 400m, cycle 17km and then run for 3km whick she completed in an incredible 67 minutes and earning a new personal best in the 17km cycle.
Kirstie, who raised over £1000 for the charity, revealed her motivation for taking on the challenge comes from daughter, Meggan. The 25-year-old was born with spina bifida, a fault in the spinal column where vertebrae do not form completely, and has hydrocephalus - a condition where increased pressure on the brain can cause social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural difficulties - but that hasn’t deterred her from fulfilling her sporting ambitions.
The wheelchair racer, who competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and at one point held Scottish national records over eight separate distances, had been in training for this year’s London Marathon when she picked up pressure sores and is now taking time out to recover before taking on her next challenge. Mum Kirstie stepped in to ensure her daughter’s fundraising intentions wouldn’t be in vain.
She said: “Meggan was upset when she realised she wouldn’t be able to take part in the marathon as she had hoped to raise funds for SBH Scotland so I decided to take up the mantle. My friends persuaded me to sign up for my first triathlon so I’ve been hard in training for that. Meggan has been laughing at me looking totally exhausted as it’s usually the other way around!”
Training for the triathlon has made Kirstie even prouder of Meggan who, she reveals, has undergone more than ten operations to insert shunts which reduce swelling on the brain, and repeat bowel surgery without ever complaining.
Kirstie added: “I’m really proud of her. I’ve never met anyone so resilient and upbeat despite everything she’s been through. She jokes about the fact the operation scars on her tummy are in the shape of a giraffe!"
“She’s a true inspiration and always looking to help others. She recently had all her hair chopped off so she could donate it to a charity that helps children who have lost their hair because of leukemia and that’s just typical of her.”
SBH Scotland are in the process of creating a children’s book about Meggan to inspire other children with disabilities to never give up and not be afraid to try new things.
Her mum added: “The hardest thing for Meggan when she was growing up was that there weren’t many other kids with disabilities in our area."
“Then she was a teenager she went to a sports camp and got to meet kids like her who didn’t want their condition to define them. Hopefully this book will let other children with spina bifida or hydrocephalus realise they are not alone and that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.”
"The services and support that SBHS have given us as a family is invaluable, i am in no doubt Meggan would not be the young, confidant young lady she is today without their drive to encourage and enable her to become the best version of herself"
Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland said: “Meggan’s story is truly inspirational and it’s great to see mum Kirstie getting involved now, too, in her own athletic endeavours. We wish her all the best for her triathlon."
“As a charity, we rely solely on the efforts of our supporters and because of people like Meggan and Kirstie we are able to offer a range of services from weekly support groups to tailored activities for children and young people and advice for families affected by the conditions."
You can help contribute to Kirstie's fundraising efforts.
For more information on services offered by SBH Scotland please contact us