A Cheltenham mother walking the coast of Great Britain to raise money in her daughter’s memory is set to arrive in Arbroath today (Friday).
Natalia Spencer is walking 6000 miles round the coast in memory of her five-year-old daughter Elizabeth, who passed away from a rare illness at Bristol Children’s Hospital in December last year.
Elizabeth was taken ill last November 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.
She spent 18 days on life support in Bristol Children’s Hospital, but despite doctors’ best efforts passed away on December 10, 2015.
Natalia now hopes to raise £100,000 for The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, in her daughter’s memory.
Natalia’s ‘Walk of Love’ started on Valentine’s Day at Durdle Door in Dorset, the last beach she and Elizabeth visited together. She has since then followed the coast around Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, the entire coast of Wales, Lancashire and Cumbria. This week Natalia reached Aberdeen and will be in Arbroath today, marking her 221st day of walking.
Natalia said:”Elizabeth particularly loved the beach and the sea and we went to the seaside a lot. After she passed away I went to the seaside quite a few times and I realised that it is the only place that helps me to feel better and connect with her.
“The walk has been incredibly challenging in places, but arriving in Scotland will be a huge milestone on my journey. Walking as far as 20 miles each day is exhausting but the coastline has been beautiful and I have met so many wonderful people along the way who have walked with me, offered me somewhere to stay, or somewhere to have a cup of coffee and a rest. Their kindness and support is a huge comfort and means I am not on my own.
“I hope that by completing this walk I will be able to bring something positive from Elizabeth’s death. Her memory will live on through the people I meet along the way and all those who are touched by her legacy.”
Natalia’s has already raised over £74,000. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Natalia-Spencer or text ELIF55 and your donation amount to 70070. You can follow her progress at www.elizabethsfootprint.com and on Facebook by searching ‘Elizabeth’s Footprint’.