Cara Tavendale, a 23-year-old from Crieff, Perthshire, has completed her fundraising campaign to raise money for Over The Wall raising a total of almost £13,000. As a 13 year-old-child, Cara became ill with a burst appendix, which led to massive sepsis, multiple abdominal abscesses, and repeated surgery. This resulted in her spending nearly two months in a high dependency unit and left her with internal damage which stopped her gut from functioning normally. Her illness meant that Cara spent long periods of time being treated in hospital, away from friends and family. It was during this time, that she discovered Over The Wall.
Cara said, “My time at camp was simply amazing. It gave me the opportunity to be with children my own age, to have fun and to just be a child. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone – I came to understand that there is always someone worse off than you. At school, it always felt like- I was- ‘the sick one’. But camp changed this feeling.” Cara decided that she would complete 10 challenges to mark the ten years since the day her appendix burst- or as she calls it – her ‘Burst Day’.
She started with a singing performance for the company Shire, then organised a supermarket bag pack, a sponsored run with a local running club, a walk of the West Highland Way, a sprint triathlon, a ceilidh (where she also had 9 inches of her hair cut which was donated to The Little Princess Trust), a Santa run, and a yearlong small change challenge in her local community. She also travelled to Oxford to busk, alongside fellow performers Sky and Ace (who were also former Over The Wall campers.) Cara first set out to raise £5k but met the target early and so raised this to £10k– a target that she also exceeded.
Cara said, “Raising this money was very important to me, because I feel that Over The Wall has given me so much. I wanted to give something back, and to help the children that may be missing out due to their illness- just as I did. I hope the funds I have raised will allow more children to experience camp and to feel the benefits it brings. Organising and completing the events has been a challenge at times- but overall it has been great fun, and knowing that you are raising funds for such an important cause makes it even better.”
Kevin Mathieson, the CEO of Over The Wall said, “Since her time as a camper, Cara has not only volunteered at camp, she has also fundraised and supported us in so many other ways. Everyone at Over The Wall is incredibly grateful for all of her hard work, dedication and commitment. In order to provide free, life-changing camps for children with serious illnesses, we must raise a substantial amount of money each year. Cara’s fundraising will now have a significant impact on helping us provide more children with health challenges, the opportunity to experience the wonder of our camps.”