An Eskbank mother has conquered her extreme fear of heights to raise over £2,500 in memory of her son who died unexpectedly three years ago.
Christopher Nelson tragically passed away in November 2015 while in Amsterdam, aged just 24. His mother, Donna, and eight other members of ‘Team Nelson’ took on the Highland Fling Bridge Swing in Killiecrankie, Perth and Kinross, to keep Christopher’s memory alive and raise vital funds for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC). The swing takes place from a platform raised 40 metres above the river below, with a free fall drop of 15 metres, before the rope takes the slack and jumpers accelerate through an arc below the bridge.
The feat is the latest in a long line of challenges Donna and her family have undertaken, which has seen them raise nearly £30,000 for ECHC.
She said: “Out of all the challenges we’ve done, this was the worst. The speed you go through the air at just makes you feel like you have no control. At least with something like the skydive, I had an expert strapped to me.
“I was the last to swing which made it worse as my nerves built even more and water is a real issue for me as Christopher drowned.
“There was no doubt I was going to do it for my laddie though and I’m so proud I did. The support from the ECHC team was amazing and it’s so important to keep his memory alive through all the amazing fundraising and donations.
“The only time I managed to take my hand off the rope was to look up and blow Christopher a kiss and tell him I loved him.”
Donna and her family have taken on a host of challenges including Tough Mudder as well as a 200 mile cycle along the Rest and be Thankful.
ECHC is a charity close to the family’s heart as it supported Christopher in hospital when he was younger. The charity supports and complements the work of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Christopher’s sisters, Abby, 13, and Rebecca, 26, both did the jump alongside Donna.
Donna added: “Abby and Rebecca were both a wee bit nervous but they did us so proud.
“Christopher was such a charismatic guy, you couldn’t help but just love him. We were soulmates so it does take me some time to recover emotionally in the days after when it hits home why we do these crazy challenges.
“But now it’s on to the next one. There’s a few ideas in the pipeline but I really just want to thank everyone for their time, kindness and donations for the time being.
“I often wonder what Chris would say to me doing all these daft challenges.”
The money raised helps ECHC to ensure children undergoing hospital treatment can be a child first and a patient second.
Sue Diamond, community fundraising manager at ECHC, said: “What Donna and Team Nelson have done is remarkable. To face her fears like she has done is so inspirational and Chris’ memory lives on in the amazing challenges she does and the incredible impact the money raised has by putting smiles on the faces of children in hospital.
“We really can’t thank her and her family enough for all their efforts and we’re so grateful for their continued support.”
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