Monday, 30 November 2015

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Cumbrian mum's tough challenges in memory of daughter

A courageous mum reeling from the death of her daughter three month ago will take on a series of gruelling challenges in her memory.

Kelly Holliday photo
Kelly Holliday and daughter Isla

Kelly Holliday lost four-year-old Isla on November 1 to a rare genetic disease.

But she will put her grief aside to run the London Marathon and battle through Total Warrior, a formidable assault course billed as the “ultimate test”.

The challenges are just a small part of a massive fundraising drive she has launched to support the charities and organisations which helped Isla during her short life.

Kelly, 33, of Seaton, said: “I dedicated everything to ensure she had the same things every other kid her age had.

“I feel lost inside but I want to do as much as I can in memory of her. I feel like she’s with me all the time. She was my life.”

The money raised will be split equally between the Rainbow Trust which helps children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses, and the West Cumberland Hospital’s Fairfield Ward where Isla received treatment.

Kelly said: “During my daughter’s life we had fantastic support and I wanted to give something back.”

At the time Isla was the oldest little girl in the world surviving with Schinzel-Giedion syndrome, a severe and debilitating condition.

Kelly, of Calva Road, spent every waking hour caring for her Isla, who had no mobility, couldn’t talk and suffered from seizures.

She said: “I’m not a sporty person so it’s a big challenge. I’m nervous but I don’t want to let anyone down. I always said I would do anything for her and I wouldn’t let any obstacles stand in my way.

“I’m quite a determined person.”

She will have support from Team Isla, a group of friends and family who will also be fundraising and taking one some of the challenges alongside her.

Kelly’s mum Diane Stagg, 52, of Ashfield, said everyone was 100 per cent behind her.

The year of fundraising will culminate in a charity ball on the first anniversary of Isla’s death in the Washington Central Hotel in Workington.

Other events might include a Coast to Coast cycle ride, a golf day and possibly a sky dive.

Kelly has already raised £2,605 in sponsorship pledges for the London Marathon while local businesses have donated a total of £900 so far.

Meanwhile, a coffee morning at Christ Central, in Workington’s Central Square, raised £500.

Friend Lucy Ross, 32, of Newlands Lane, who baked the cakes for the event, said: “I have known Isla since she was born and it means everything to be able to help, especially because I have children of my own.

Kelly thanked her friends and all the businesses for their “overwhelming donations”.

“I can’t name them all because there are too many,” she added.

Her husband works away Phil Holliday, 40, works in Africa, and they have a three-year-old son called Isaac.

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Team Isla’s year of events:

March 15 Irish theme night at The Bush Inn at Tallentire, near Cockermouth, followed by a 24-hour spinathon in Workington Leisure Centre.

March 24 Kelly will walk from Workington to Keswick with 150 members of Team Isla.

March 28 The team will be packing bags at Marks & Spencer in Workington.

March 29 The Good Friday leg of Uppies and Downies will be dedicated to Isla’s memory.

April 21 Kelly and Team Isla run in the London Marathon with 35 friends and supporters.

August 4 Kelly will take part in the Total Warrior obstacle challenge in Shap.

August 22 Children’s charity ball will be held in Workington’s Royal British Legion from 4pm.

September 15 Kelly will run in the Great North Run.

November 1 A charity ball will be held at Washington Central.


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