Parents take on Big Stride as a special thanks

Martin and Bella cross the Kiltwalk finishing line
Martin and Bella cross the Kiltwalk finishing line

A mum and dad from Banchory will be putting their best foot forward at this year’s Kiltwalk Aberdeen – for a cause close to their hearts.

It will be the second time Martin McDonald has taken on the Big Stride 26 mile challenge but it’s a first for his wife Abby.

However, the 34-year-olds are both determined to cross the finish line at Potarch on Sunday, June 4.

For they and their friends – brother-in-law Duncan Stewart from Aberdeen and Darren Smith from Banchory – are doing the walk as a thank you to the team at Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland.

Abby and Martin have three children – Findlay (7), Oscar (4) and 14-month-old Bella, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

Bella was diagnosed at her 20 week scan and her parents received a tremendous amount of support from SBH Scotland, both during and after the pregnancy.

Bella was born on April 12 last year. Her lower back was open at birth and the spina bifida lesion had damaged the nerves to her bowel, bladder and feet.

Within 48 hours she had two operations – the first to close her back and then another to insert a shunt into her head to drain an excess build-up of fluid in her brain.

Bella currently has no feeling from the ankles down and wears splints on her legs during the day and boots and a bar at night to try to keep her legs in the correct position.

It is not yet known if she’ll be able to walk but her parents are hopeful.

Abby said: “It’s all a bit of a waiting game and we really just take each day as it comes.

“No-one can say she will or she won’t walk.

“She’s also catheterised every three to four hours.

“But she’s a wonderful wee girl who is always smiling – apart from when she’s hungry!

“Her brothers absolutely dote on her too and are a big help to me.”

Bella might not be able to walk but she has already been up Scolty Hill – courtesy of her mum’s Kiltwalk training!

Abby added: “I’ve not had time to do as much training as I’d have liked but we’re all deteremined – I’ve even been up Scolty Hill with Bella strapped to me!

“Martin started flagging in Banchory last year but thinking about why he was doing it was enough of a nudge to get him to the finish line.

“We’ve received a huge amount of support from SBH Scotland and we just want to say thank you.”

The team have raised £1325 but if you’d like to support them, visit