A TEAM of runners and walkers are set to complete an emotional journey around Arthur’s Seat to respect the final wish of an inspirational 22-year-old.
Sheree Bell, who battled a rare condition called Noonan syndrome from birth, died following a failed heart transplant in June.
She had worked tirelessly to raise money for the British Heart Foundation despite her failing health, and left letters which were only to be opened in the event of her death asking that her fundraising work was continued by her family members and friends.
Around 25 of them are now to respect her final wish – starting with the British Heart Foundation Scotland Winter Warmer 5k and 10k event next month.
Sheree’s mother June McLeod is one of those taking part. She said: “It’s a real mixed bag of people, but we’re all doing it for Sheree. She was so passionate about raising money.
“We are all still struggling, but it does help to focus on fundraising.
“I knew she was well-liked, but I didn’t expect the reaction I’ve had. It just shows what an inspiration she was and the number of people she touched.”
Sheree, who was from Carrick Knowe, was diagnosed with an abnormal heart valve at the age of 12, and in 2009 she was told her heart was flooding her spleen and liver with blood, leaving both organs swollen.
She was forced to quit work and began to use a wheelchair, but still managed to organise a charity event in The Ritz, in South Gyle last November, raising £3400 for charity and encouraging others to sign the organ donor register.
And she was in the process of picking a date for her next fundraising event, when she was rushed into hospital on June 22, after a donor heart became available.
But sadly, the heart did not beat as it should have done and two days later, life-support machines were turned off.
Another event in memory of Sheree is planned for November to mark the anniversary of the successful fundraiser she organised, with donations also set to be made to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Strathclyde, where doctors worked desperately to save her life.
“It’s going to continue, even if we just do something once a year,” June added. “It’s all about Sheree and what she would have wanted. That’s how I live my life now.”
The Winter Warmer event is returning to the Capital for the third year in a row.
Participants will be able to do one loop around Arthur’s Seat to complete 5k, or two laps for the 10k distance.
It will take place on October 21, and is electronically timed, with serious runners as well as beginners encouraged to take part. Participants can run or walk. Entry costs £15, with participants asked to also raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
The charity says £200 would fund a young scientist working on life-saving medical advancements in the Capital for a day.
For more information call 0800 1693672 or visit bhf.org.uk/winterwarmer.