An Aberdeen mum-of-twins is taking on a gruelling charity challenge to help raise funds for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).
Naomii Mitchell will face the Virtual Toughest Mudder this weekend, in memory of her little cousin Finley Wilson, who suffered from a rare heart condition and sadly passed away last year, aged just two.
The much-loved toddler was looked after at Robin House in Balloch, run by CHAS, while dedicated hospice staff also provided support to his parents and extended family.
As a tribute to Finley, Naomii, from Bridge of Don, will take on the challenge at Duthie Park and along the River Dee from 8pm on Saturday night until 8am on Sunday morning.
The event has been organised in place of Europe’s Toughest Mudder, which Naomii was originally signed up for, which has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Naomii, mum to eight-year-old twins Jay and Aston, started volunteering for CHAS shortly after Finley’s death.
The 26-year-old said: “After Finley passed away, I felt wanted do something which would help keep his memory alive and also help CHAS. I knew that whatever I was going to do, it had to be something that was going to push me to levels out of my comfort zone.
“As a mum of twins that can be challenging in itself but I’ve also been doing Obstacle Course Races (OCR) for the last three years and represented Scotland at the OCR World Championships in 2019. I’ve never done a 12 hour endurance event or covered more than 20 miles though so this is going to be my toughest challenge to date for sure, especially as I’m usually in bed by 9pm!”
Normally, participants in Tough Mudder would face an obstacle course to overcome, but for this year’s version each runner will be given a list of challenges to compete.
Supporters will be able to track their progress online via a special leader board.
Naomii, who is studying to become a qualified Personal Trainer through the Origym Centre of Excellence, is hoping to complete a minimum of 35 miles in total during her virtual challenge.
She said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to KK Building Services in Ellon who have generously offered to provide everything needed for my pit crew on the night and also to my coach, Jade Skillen who has been amazing helping me with everything from training to nutrition and mobility.
“Thanks too to all my family and friends who will be cheering me on throughout the night – their support means so much.”
Naomii added that even though she knows the challenge will be tough she is determined to complete it in honour of her little cousin who she misses every day.
She said: “Finley was the most special little boy who is loved and missed so much by all his family and friends.
“Robin House provided Finley with the very best of care. I honestly can’t thank the staff there enough for all they did for my family at what was such a heart-breaking time.”
Naomi has qualified for the European Championships, World Championships and Spartan European Championships however, due to Covid-19, these events have all been postponed for the time being.
She is hopeful however that she will still be able to compete Europe’s Toughest Mudder event in June 2021 providing it goes ahead.
CHAS Community Fundraiser, Emma Moore said: “We are so grateful to Naomii for taking on this incredible challenge in aid of CHAS.
“We know how much this means to Naomii to complete this in memory of Finley and we are so pleased that she has chosen to fundraise for CHAS.
“Now, more than ever, we rely on our fundraisers completing challenges such as this to help us continue our work keeping the joy alive for all the vulnerable children in our care across Scotland and their families.”
Like many other charities in the current pandemic, CHAS has had to dramatically transform the way in which it operates.
While both Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch are continuing to provide end of life care, the charity now also runs a virtual children’s hospice to support families who are having to completely self-isolate.
Through this service, families are offered extensive support by phone and video on important issues such as clinical guidance, financial advice and bereavement.
CHAS family support teams also offer a range of interactive activities, art clubs, storytelling and friendship calls to children and parents.
To donate to Naomii’s page visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/naomii-mitchell
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