A woman who was inspired to walk across the roof of London’s O2 arena by the plight of her sick granddaughter has spoken about how she felt the need to do something to help.
Anna Irwin, 45, from Holybourne, is scared of heights – but she faced her fear after little Sofia was born with the liver disease biliary atresia and is now waiting for a liver transplant. Her efforts raised £1,135 for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.
Anna, pictured with Sofia, said: “I felt so helpless that I couldn’t do anything to fix my granddaughter or the pain and anxiety that her parents are going through.
“But I knew I could help the charity who are helping them, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something positive.
“Because I have a fear of heights, I thought a walk over the O2 would be a suitable challenge which would encourage people to sponsor me.
“I knew it would be difficult but it’s nothing compared to what Sofia and her parents are going through right now.”
Sofia’s illness means her liver does not drain bile properly. It is not very common, so Anna really appreciated what the charity could tell her about the condition and liver transplants.
She said: “This was so helpful in those early days when we were trying to explain the situation to family members.”
With the support of her partner Vinny, Anna not only completed the walk but also more than doubled her original £500 target.
She said: “I must admit it was emotionally hard and I wouldn’t want to repeat it, but I’m proud of myself for doing it. I’m pleased with my fundraising total and money is still coming in. I’ll definitely be setting myself a new challenge for next year.”
Foundation chief executive Rebecca Cooper added: “We are delighted and so grateful to hear what Anna has done for us. The funds she has raised will enable us to continue supporting families just like hers when they need us most.”