Meet Rachel, a fantastic fundraiser who has taken on 12 Marathons in 12 Months inspired by her nephew
At Charlie House, we are blown away by the generosity and determination of our fundraisers and supporters and Rachel Macrae is one who has truly inspired us.
Throughout 2022, Rachel has taken on the challenge of completing 12 marathons in 12 months in support of our work with babies, children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families – all inspired by her 10-year-old nephew, MJ.
At 6 months old, MJ, who is supported by Charlie House alongside his family, was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He also has dystonia and epilepsy. As a result of his conditions, MJ cannot walk or talk, receives daily medication and has experienced more hospital trips than many will experience in their lifetime.
Speaking about her family’s experience with her nephew, Rachel told us, “His day-to-day life, and that of my sister, brother-in-law and now his little brother, Myles, is incomparable, in so many ways, to that of fully ‘able-bodied’ families. Getting up and ready for the day is like a military operation, needing hours, and meaning that every day starts at 5am, often with little and broken sleep through the night.”
She continues, “Since MJ was born, I have been so inspired by his resilience and ability to keep smiling and have become increasingly grateful of my own freedom to move... and to run. I am also inspired every day by my sister and brother-in-law and their strength and determination to take everything life throws at them in their stride. So, I decided to take on this challenge in honour of my gorgeous nephew, his amazing parents and his first decade.”
12 Marathons in 12 Months
So far Rachel has completed 11 of the 12 marathons and has raised over £5,000, more than £4,000 above her original fundraising target - a testament to her own determination.
She has run most of the marathons on her doorstep in and around Aberdeen, two of which she ran from Aberdeen to Brewdog HQ in Ellon. On the 2nd of October, she ran the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon which took her to marathon number 11. However, Rachel’s highlight was marathon 9, when she ran from Braemar to Aviemore via the Lairig Ghru.
“It was more than a marathon at 28 miles and some of the most challenging terrain I have ever run on, with a 1-mile boulder field to navigate,” She said, “It took me 25 minutes to cover this 1-mile distance. It felt forever when I could usually cover around 3 times the distance in this space of time. It was quite frustrating but also made me think a lot about how so much of our day-to-day lives, which we think is easy to navigate, must feel like a never-ending boulder field to families with a child who has mobility difficulties and other complex needs. I was grateful to be joined by my boyfriend and friend to keep me going in the right direction or I might still be lost somewhere in the cairngorms now!”
Support from Charlie House
MJ and his family are supported by Charlie House, attending accessible activities with a support network of families who understand their experiences and receiving specialist support from our services team. By taking on the 12 marathons in 12 months challenge, Rachel aimed to raise both funds and awareness for a charity close to her heart with money raised going towards Charlie House’s Big Build Appeal.
“Charlie House has been a great support for my sister, brother-in-law and nephew as they have navigated life as parents of a child with complex needs,” Rachel told us, “I think until you have someone close to you with additional needs, we can all take for granted the ease at which we can go about our daily lives and the access we have to transport, leisure and even basic amenities - everyone deserves to be able to enjoy where the place they live.”
She continues, “Charlie House is a voice for families with complex and additional needs - helping to improve the access they have to the community around them and to have fun. It also helps to introduce families to one another, to create friendships and help build a support network. We are grateful for Charlie House and the great work they do in Aberdeen and the North-east.”
Rachel is set to complete her 12th and final marathon on the weekend of the 12th and 13th of November where she will be joined by friends for extra encouragement. To support her fundraising efforts, donate to her Just Giving page here.
Interested in completing your own fundraising challenge? Get in touch with our fundraising team via firstname.lastname@example.org