Ancrum youngster Maia set for new wheelchair thanks to fundraisers from near and far

Steven and June Russell with their daughter Maia from Ancrum. The Rally presented a cheque for �250 towards a new wheelchair for Maia, this brought them to the threshold of �5000 for the new wheelchair.
Steven and June Russell with their daughter Maia from Ancrum. The Rally presented a cheque for �250 towards a new wheelchair for Maia, this brought them to the threshold of �5000 for the new wheelchair.

An Ancrum family is celebrating having secured the final piece in a funding puzzle to help provide their disabled daughter with a custom-made wheelchair.

Maia Russell, 13, born with a double chromosome disorder, will benefit from a Trekinetic wheelchair after a £250 donation from the Border Counties Rally at the weekend saw them hit a £5,000 target in under three months.

“As Maia was getting older her wheelchair was becoming more and more restrictive,” dad Steven said. “We wanted more for her.

“We wanted to be able to go off-road, on country walks and to the beach. Maia has a life-limiting condition, but we have always believed that she should lead a life without limits.

““We dont know how long we have with her, but hopefully many years to come, and we want her to have a full and happy time while she can and we are able.

“That’s all we have ever tried to provide her with.”

And when Ancrum musician Ian Heard handed over £250 raised at a Hogmanay party, so began an unexpected fundraising drive.

“Things kicked off from there,” Steven said. “I set up a crowdfunding page and embarked on a challenge which saw me. and a friend Karen Howe, climb the equivalent height of Mount Everest in 56 days using a health app and by doing shuttles up smaller hills around the Borders.”

That effort raised £3,490 in online donations, including an anonymous one of £500.

Maia’s cousin Simone Russell raised £370 doing the Mighty Deerstalker run, Freya Clamp’s cake bake raised £250, the Border Counties Rally donated the same amount, cousin Lynsey Cargill raised £370 through sponsored walks and collecting donations at Ancrum Pantry.

Maia’s former schoolmates at Ancrum Primary School raised £795 through a coffee morning and a fit-athon and further donations came from across the UK and abroad.

The amount raised will not only cover the costs of the new wheelchair, due to arrive within two months, but also insurance, a service agreement and extra tyres for beach use.

“It’s been amazing response and an emotional rollercoaster for both me and my wife June,” Steven added.

“The response was beyond our expectations.

“A lot of the money was donated locally but we had many donations from across the UK from old friends, some of whom I’ve not seen for 30-odd years, but who saw our appeal by the power of Facebook.”

“We are confident that this will be a life changer for Maia and us.

“We will be eternally grateful to all who donated and can’t thank them enough.”