Scott Bryson, a solo effort covering 250 miles 17 – 21 June 2017
Raising funds for the Finola Trust and Bobath Scotland
Finola has lived with Cerebral Palsy for 25 years. She is reliant on others for all of her daily needs. She is unable to walk or sit unsupported. Her speech and learning are affected too. She requires specialist therapy to manage her condition and minimise pain and discomfort. The Finola Trust was formed to generate funding for essential equipment, weekly Bobath therapy and specialist education. Orbit (a Golden Retriever) is Finola’s Canine Partner who provides companionship and protection whilst supporting her with physical tasks. He has given Finola renewed confidence. Despite her disability she is always seen smiling, with a determination to influence her own world, inspiring people to “see me rather than someone in a wheelchair”.
Finola’s mother (Henri) is a remarkable lady in her own right. In addition to running her own event management company she is the principal carer, fundraiser and advocate for Finola. This means overcoming obstacles, cutting red tape, challenging policy and managing setbacks. Despite a brilliant network of family and friends, it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle eg Finola’s specialist further education for 3 yrs cost the Finola Trust £100,000 most of which was covered by fundraising. Henri takes such tasks in her stride.
Bobath Scotland provides specialist, tailored & holistic therapy for patients with cerebral palsy, focussing on reducing pain, developing communication and mobility. They also help parents, siblings, teachers, local therapists and others learn how to support each patient and improve their quality of life.
Scott first met Henri when she rescued his scrambled PowerPoint presentation at a Public Health Conference 12 years ago. An enduring friendship was established there and then! He is one of many who have been inspired into fundraising for the Finola Trust. He is a recreational cyclist and now (nearly) an old age pensioner. Scott struck on the idea of the Outer Hebrides Cycle Challenge from Mark Beaumont who launched the route last year as a warm up to his 2017 goal of 18,000 miles in 80 days around the world!
The Finola Trust would like to sincerely thank the Gatliff Trust for their support with this challenge. The Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust is dedicated to running Berneray, Howmore and Rhenigidale hostels, in partnership with islanders, to a sound and basic standard. Its goal is to provide hostellers, including young people of limited means, with the opportunity of staying a while and getting to know the unique culture and natural environment of the Islands. The Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust was founded in 1988 and is part of the SYHA family.
OUTER HEBRIDES CYCLE CHALLENGE: The Whole Story
Finola is a young lady, aged 25yrs old, with cerebral palsy who lives in Midlothian. She is reliant on others for her daily needs. She has severe scoliosis and requires regular therapy to manage her condition and prevent pain and discomfort. These symptoms mean she is not able to walk or sit unsupported. She has a working Canine Partner companion, Orbit a Golden Retriever, who supports her with physical tasks and she has been attending the Bobath Scotland unit in Glasgow since she was 4 yrs old. The Finola Trust was formed to raise monies for (1) essential equipment not funded by the NHS/Education authorities, (2) weekly Bobath therapy and (3) specialist education and well being.
This charity exists to improve the quality of life for people, with cerebral palsy. They provide specialist, tailored and holistic therapy focussing on reducing pain, developing communication and mobility. They also help parents, siblings, teachers, local therapists and others learn how best to support each patient.
Bobath and Finola
Having access to Bobath therapy has helped Finola in a number of ways, including:
– Been able to avoid spinal surgery
– Put a stop to the sudden panic episodes of shortness of breath
– Improved control over the sudden spasms that affect her right arm
– Reduced sensitivity to sudden noises, movement and touch
– Improved ability to use her hands
– Reduce tightness in her foot and avoid pain
– Maintain flexibilit, particularly of her spine
– Maintain strenght, especially in her trunk, but also in her legs and arms
– Maintain the ability to use a standing aid
– Maintain alignment and comfort in her wheelchair
Finola’s view of life
My condition means that I am reliant on others for all my daily needs as I am unable to weight bear and therefore unable to walk/sit unsupported and have limited hand function. My speech and learning is affected too and I suffer from major scoliosis in my back. I am unable to feed myself and require support to dress, wash and do all the things most people take for granted.
Although I rely on others, I am a very positive person and have tried to develop the confidence to know that I can influence my own world and allow people to see ME rather than ‘my condition’. In 2009 – 2012 I was lucky to attend a specialised residential college, Portland College Nottingham, on an independent living skills course. Our family had to raise over £100,000 for me to attend and I was involved with a lot of the fundraising with my mother. It was in the autumn of the last year of the course that I met a student with a Dog for the Disabled and saw what a huge help and companion he was.
Finola and Orbit (her Golden Retriever)
I applied for a Canine Partner whilst at college as I knew there was a waiting list and I waited over 2 years but once a dog had been matched things ran very smoothly indeed. Both my mother and I fell in love with Orbit at first sight! What a handsome dog he is. We had to wait a further 15 weeks prior to him travelling to Scotland with his trainer to come and live with us from 14 April 2014.
The biggest and most important aspect he has brought to my life is ‘companionship and love’. I rely on carers/friends for all my daily tasks and I prefer to have my own age group helping me. On the flip side, this means that people move on, but now I have Orbit I know my ‘best friend ever’ will always be with me. He is very protective and loving. I wake up to hugs first thing in the morning and have a hug last thing at night.
I feel that I am seen and noticed more when I am out and about walking with Orbit, and people genuinely want to stop and talk to us. I feel that they are talking to me as my own person and seeing ME rather than treating me as someone in a wheelchair who has cerebral palsy. My confidence has grown so much that I can now talk to strangers without turning to whoever is accompanying me for help. Orbit has helped me to show everone the real ME!
Having Orbit makes me responsible for him! My voice has changed as I have to give him instructions and I have learnt how to change my tone depending what is being asked of him. Orbit helps 24/7 from when I get up in the morning until I go to bed. He is my companion during the night as he sleeps in my room and I don’t mind when he dreams and snores! He helps to undress me, picks things up from the floor and drops them back in my lap, he brings my DVDs and carries various things as requested around the flat. He takes my washing to the washing machine, opens and shuts doors. When shopping he will press entry buttons. He gets his own jacket and lead on command.
He is truly such an amazing and ‘cool. dog and I truly do not know what I would do without him. The biggest thing of all is that Orbit is my best friend. He is loyal, affectionate and so patient. I just can’t think of my life without him.
The next priority
To raise funds to purchase a state of the art electric wheelchair that would enable Finola to have more flexibility to go for walks over different terrains with Orbit and to also enable her to speak to people at their own level by raising her chair to their eye level! The purchase cost is approximately £12,000. In the region of £7,500 has been raised already by various means, so the bike ride aims to meet the overall target.
Finola’s mother (Henri) is a remarkable lady in her own right. In addition to running her own event management company she is the principal carer, fundraiser and advocate for Finola. This frequently means overcoming obstacles, cutting red tape, challenging policy and managing setbacks. Despite a brilliant network of family and friends, it can sometimes feel an uphill battle eg Finola’s specialist education for 3 years cost £100,000, most of which was covered by fundraising. Henri seems to take such tasks in her stride.
Scott recently retired from his position as a senior pharmacist with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde but he retains his professional links with teaching appointments at both the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow. Scott first met Henri when she rescued his scrambled Power Point presentation at a Public Health Conference 12 years ago. A long lasting friendship was established there and then! He is one of many who have been inspired into fundraising for the Finola Trust. He is a recreational cyclist and now (almost) an old age pensioner.
The Hebridean Way
Scott struck on the idea of the Outer Hebrides Cycle Challenge after listening to Mark Beaumont who launched the route last year, as a warm up to his 2017 goal of 18,000 miles in 80 days around the world … a sobering thought. Scott’s aims are more modest – from the most southerly inhabited point of the Outer Hebrides (Vatersay) to the most northerly point (Butt of Lewis) by a circuitous route covering 250 miles in 5 days in mid June 2017. Scott will be cycling solo and unsupported, carrying all the gear he needs and staying in hostel accommodation.
The Gatliff Trust is dedicated to encouraging young people, especially those of limited means, to experience, explore and appreciate the countryside of the British Isles. The Trust focuses on specific themes: small hostels, the Outer Hebrides, the adventure of hostelling and personal exploration of the countryside.
The Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust is dedicated to running Berneray (21 beds), Howmore (16 beds) and Rhenigidale (12 beds) hostels, in partnership with islanders, to a sound basic standard. Its goal is to provide hostellers, including young people of limited means, with the opportunity to stay a while to get to know, & maybe come to love, the unique culture & natural environment of the islands. (We are part of the SYHA family.) www.gatliff.org.uk
Discounted accommodation will also be provided at the Gealabhat Guest House, 9 Callanish, Isle of Lewis.