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Fundraisers walk on hot coals for brave Carlisle mum

Brave fundraisers overcame their fears to walk across burning coals to help a Cumbrian mum suffering from locked-in syndrome.

Carlisle firewalk photo
Nicola’s husband Neil tackles the coals

Fifty-three people walked barefoot across smouldering embers at Pirelli Social Club, Carlisle, in support of Nicola Watson who was just 40 when she suffered a stroke last year. Her mind is functioning normally but she is unable to move her body, and there is no cure.

Nicola, 41, is in the city’s Cumberland Infirmary but her family and friends are determined to bring her home.

Close friend Alison Johnstone organised the event.

She said: “It’s fantastic so many people turned out for Nic. Her situation has really caught people’s attention and made us determined to do we can to help her.

“Firewalking is a strange sensation – it doesn’t hurt; it feels like your hands do if you clap them really hard.

“But it has taken a lot of courage for people to do it and I’m proud of all of them.

“One of my friends said she would do it if Nic could move her arm enough to touch her. Nic did that and that took a hell of a lot more effort than we are using doing this.”

Alison hopes to raise enough eventually to bring Nicola back home to live.

Although she would still need 24-hour nursing, such a move would give Nicola back a part of her old life and even a little independence. The cash will help modify the Upperby home that she shares with her husband Neil and daughters Emma and Hannah.

Alison added: “Nicola is doing well. She had a bit of a setback in the summer, but she’s had a good few weeks since.”

Nicola can’t move her body but her brain is still working and she can communicate with her eyes.

Her stroke was caused by a blood clot. It could have stopped somewhere else and been less severe, but in Nicola’s case it affected the brain stem, which controls movement. In a bid to raise awareness, her family have set up a website – www.nicolawatson.co.uk

But their main focus is a £20,000 fundraising campaign so they can adapt the house and bring her back home – the one thing that will really make her happy.

Have your say

Well done to all who took park in this fire walk especially as it was to raise money for such a special cause. I wish Nicola and her family all the best for the future and hope Nicola can get back home soon. I will be looking on Nicola's website to see how I can donate towards the fund.

20k is a lot of money but when you hear in the news that someone has donated 50k towards a roman helmet it really makes you think... what has the world come to, I think most people would agree which cause is more important.

Posted by Anon on 29 September 2010 at 22:48

I have known Nic on and off since secondary school and our paths have crossed often throughout the years, although i didn't do the walk on friday i was proud to be part of the evening, which was a fantastic night and all credit to everyone involved in organizing this extremely moving and worthwhile event. well done.

Posted by Gina Docherty on 28 September 2010 at 09:24

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