The Leanne Fund is marking a decade of dedicated support for those with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.
The charity’s Annual Report 2020 outlines the support provided for hundreds of individuals affected by CF and their families in 2020; the expansion of services to additional regions across Scotland; and the ongoing fundraising drives and events that have raised thousands of pounds over the last ten years.
In January 2010, the charity was set up by Chrisetta and Willie Mitchell, the parents of Leanne (21) who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis and passed away in 2009.
Inspired by Leanne’s resilience and drive to live her life to the full, the charity was set up to fill the gaps in support services and to enhance the quality of life for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.
Since its set up, the charity has expanded to offer social, practical, emotional and financial assistance to individuals and families across Highland, Eilean Siar, Orkney, Shetland, Grampian, Tayside and Fife NHS Health Boards and some families in Dumfries and Galloway.
The Annual Report presented to the Committee outlined the ten years of growth and success. Outlining the current status of the charity and the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic, Chair Ann Marie Murray stated:
“The services provided are broad and include special treats and experiences to allow families to make special memories; to assist young people in gaining more independence through the ‘On the Move’ initiative; to help people with CF ‘Get Active’ and maintain good health; and grants for emergency circumstances or to help to ease financial pressures. In the last year, there has also been a focus on mental health and counselling and mindfulness services have been added. TV cards and ‘Pamper Hampers’ also help individuals during what can be lengthy stays in hospital. The ‘Over the Rainbow’ service also supporting those in the final stages of the illness.”
She added that the nature of the pandemic had made it even more essential to provide support to those with Cystic Fibrosis who were classed as particularly vulnerable to the virus and were told to shield for 12 weeks.
Fundraising has been key in the expanse of The Leanne Fund and the Covid-19 meant events needed to adapt to become virtual and socially distanced.
Some fundraisers changed, such as the proposed Coast to Coast cycle by employees of BP in Aberdeen. They instead amended the challenge to a remote one, where collectively they cycled a total of 24,901 miles – the distance around the world – during September. Other fundraisers ranged from bake sales and raffles, a virtual London Marathon, in-car bingo, 50km run in one day, and an auction of beautifully hand-carved guitars. Staff in the hospitals where support is provided have also taken on fundraising challenges.
External funding from the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund and the Bank of Scotland REACH funding programme have been key and support the Lord Provost's Charitable Trust, Tesco Bags of Help and Aberdeen University Student Union's Raising and Giving group (AUSA RAG) have been a huge help.
The report notes the ongoing support from organisations and businesses who have assisted the Fund in providing services.
The report states: “We also continue to be grateful to Woody’s Express Services for their assistance in delivering hampers prepared in the office in Stornoway across to various hospitals on the mainland. It is so encouraging to receive additional support from businesses and organisations who recognise our good work.”
The Leanne Fund’s tenth anniversary was also marked in the Scottish Parliament by MSP for the Western Isles, Alasdair Allan. He congratulated the Fund for the significant achievements in providing support for those with cystic fibrosis and their families across the Highlands and Islands and Grampian regions. The motion was supported by cross-party members of the Scottish Parliament.
Highlighting the growth of the charity, the report concludes:
“Our proudest achievement is being able to help a growing number of people over a greater geographical area of Scotland, now we are established in Tayside. The positive feedback received from service users year-on-year goes a long way to show the impact our services have on their lives, and how appreciative they are to have this support that was previously not available to them.”
The Leanne Fund is run by Development Manager Chrisetta Mitchell who is supported in her work by a committee of volunteers.