The family of a seriously ill St Andrews teen are appealing for help to buy a specially adaptive wheelchair to give her a chance at freedom.
Madras College pupil Georgia Gatherum used to love to dance regularly taking part in classes at Madras Community dance school.
But one day, aged 13, Georgia started to feel unwell and she was admitted to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.
Ever since, the now 19-year-old has battled against the challenges and anguish associated with an undiagnosed neurological disease that has left her paralysed.
Georgia was given the diagnosis of complete digestive failure, gut dysmotility, conversion syndrome and now also suffers from epilepsy meaning many of her organs have failed and she is confined to a wheelchair, which is becoming increasingly difficult for her to operate.
Her mother, Jillian Wallace, who suffers from arthritis and relies on two walking sticks, is unable to push her daughter in a manual chair.
Despite attempts to get an electric wheelchair from the NHS the family have turned to raising money independently to try and buy her a suitably adapted chair which will provide her with some freedom.
“There’s only so much her arms can do. She’s getting weaker because she’s not had any nutrition in 10 weeks and is paralysed from the waist down,” Jill explained. “This is a life limiting, life threatening condition so time is precious.”
“She should be allowed to have some independence for whatever time she has left and at the moment she’s not got that.”
Normally reluctant to be in the spotlight, the family have turned to the communities of both Cupar and St Andrews to ask for help in a mass fundraising campaing to try and reach the ambitious target of £15,000.
Described as happy, courageous and intelligent, the family are constantly astounded by her character. “She is a fighter,” said Jill.
“And her smile lights up the room,” said Georgia’s cousin Lauren Reilly who has organised a pub quiz at the Boudingait on Sunday, June 26. She continued: “Georgia is very special to me, I just hope with all the hard work and effort I’ve put in it raises a good amount.
“It’s overwhelming how grateful the community and local business have been towards our charity quiz. My boss Lorna Lidderdale, my partner Lewis and the staff at the Boudingait have been a massive help.”
Within 24 hours of setting up the account – www.gofundme.com/25aenkk – the fund reached almost £1000 but donations are slowing down and the family hope the upcoming fundraisers will bridge the gap.