Super Mum to abseil ‘fairy-tale castle’ in aid of ARCHIE

A Super Mum is to abseil the side of a “fairy-tale” castle in aid of local sick children in hospital after her own daughter’s difficult start to life.

Susan Andrew will drop down the stunning Dunrobin Castle in aid of The ARCHIE Foundation later this month.

The 35-year-old primary school teacher from Thurso is one of many raising vital funds for the official charity of the Highland Children’s Unit on Saturday 25th May.

Little Lois aged just a week old in SCBU

It was the care given at the facility to her daughter Lois that inspired Susan to take the plunge for ARCHIE.

Three-year-old Lois was born five weeks early weighing just 4lbs 3oz and spent the first part of her life in Raigmore’s SCBU, where she developed oxygen problems.

The tot was then flown by air ambulance to Glasgow Children’s Hospital with doctors telling Susan and her husband Stuart, that they did not think Lois would make it.

Lois finally leaves Raigmore hospital after six weeks with mum Susan, dad Stuart and brother Ethan.

It was this that led the couple to call their daughter their ‘miracle girl’ after overcoming the odds stacked against her.

Now, as a toddler, Lois still faces some difficulties with regular check ups with doctors at the Highland Children’s Unit.

Susan said: “When she first came home, Lois was very small and struggled to put weight on. It’s still an issue she has today and she faces difficulties maintaining weight whenever she has a bug as she just won’t eat.

“Mentally, she is very well and is very strong-willed but she is very thin and is still in clothing aged for two-year-olds and weighs 22lbs – which is below the line for her age/percentiles.”

Susan said ARCHIE’s presence in Raigmore Hospital was felt immediately and believed the child-friendly environment was a welcome presence in the wards.

Susan and Stuart‘s ‘miracle girl‘ on her first day of nursery.

The charity looks to provide age-appropriate environments for young patients to ease their anxiety when in hospital. ARCHIE can also provide much-needed extras such as emergency grants for families, advanced training courses for paediatricians and specialist staff.

Susan said: “The presence of ARCHIE is felt every day as you walk in the front door.

“I was amazed by the garden at the ward and seeing other children there benefitting from it.  Even as a parent, you noticed the benefits with the toys and bright colours of the ward – it made a difference.

“Since Lois’s time in hospital I’ve always wanted to give back to the hospitals who have helped her.”

The family on a recent holiday to Mallorca.

Having taken part in an abseil previously, Susan jumped at the chance to at the stunning Dunrobin Castle. The family often drive past and affectionately call it the “fairy tale castle”.

To add to the feel-good factor around the event, ARCHIE is encouraging participants to don fancy dress and Susan has hinted at a Super Woman costume she has in her wardrobe.

So far, Super Mum Susan has raised more than £600 for the children’s charity and has been touched by the level of support she has received.

She said: “I’ve had lots of encouragement from lots of friends and family who have pledged their support.

“I am really grateful for the messages and donations I’ve already received.”

Susan and Lois pose for a selfie.

On the day, she will be cheered on by husband Stuart, Lois and her son Ethan, 7.

To donate to Susan’s fundraising efforts, visit: https://archieabseilhighland.everydayhero.com/uk/susan.

Dawn Cowie, ARCHIE Highland fundraiser, said: “Hearing Susan’s story is so touching and we are honoured to have the continued support for the work we do at the Highland Children’s Unit.

“I’m sure Lois will be proud watching her Super Mum come down the side of the castle – which is absolutely gorgeous!

“There are not too many places left, so I’d encourage anyone interested in the challenge sign up as soon as possible and start raising money for sick children in the Highlands.”

Anyone wishing to take part in The ARCHIE Foundation’s abseil should register at everydayhero.co.uk/event/archieabseilhighland for just £10.