An Ettrickbridge charity set up in memory of Kirkhope Primary pupil Katie McKerracher is holding a fundraising shoot at Braidwood near Midlem this Saturday, July 11.
The Katie McKerracher Trust was founded by Katie’s parents Ann and Andrew, after their 10-year-old daughter lost her fight with Diffuse Pontine Glioma (DPG) – a rare brain stem tumour – in January 2009, just 11 months after her diagnosis. Their charity helps families facing, as doctors told Ann, “the worst pediatric cancer there is, because there’s no hope of getting better.”
Parents can lack information and support to turn to, Ann said: “Our Trust is only for children with DPG. We can turn around a request and send money to families in a day. Parents are seeing their child is dying, but sometimes there’s nothing they can do about work, which puts a huge strain on families. Once we filled someone’s oil tank. They told us afterwards how much it meant for them to keep their dying child warm.”
They wrote booklets, based on the information and advice parents need, now available in every UK children’s hospital. The charity is run from the couple’s home, Cherrydene, where they also foster kids. “We’re just quietly helping people, but in the grand scheme it helps people in huge ways. People are incredibly grateful for the support we give. We do get cards, and they break your heart.”
Only 35 kids a year are diagnosed with DPG in the UK. Since Katie passed away, the charity that bears her name has helped the family of a second child who died of the disease in the Borders.
Describing past fundraising activities, so far generating £200,000, Ann said: “Katie loved Highland dancing. We decided to give a dancing award every year Katie would have been at secondary school, so we just gave out the last one to one of Katie’s friends, Neve Douglas from Hawick.”
This Saturday’s clay pigeon shoot, organised by Bisley at Braidwood’s Mark Hislop and Mandy Bell, features team competitions (£35pp) for a carved wooden cup and an auction. Katie’s two brothers Fergus, 21, and Bruce, 19, are also competing. A dinner and auction in Selkirk’s Victoria Hall is planned in September. More info at www.www.bisleyshooting.co.uk