Poignant calender in memory of Aila was two years in making

A poignant calendar that has been two years in the making has been released for sale ahead of Christmas by the Aila Coull Foundation.

Buckie-based photographer Shelley Mackie was inspired by Aila’s favourite nursery rhymes, poems and television programmes in the images produced for the calendar.

Shelley set out to produce the images after learning about how Alia’s parents had set up the charity in memory of their daughter, who lost her battle with Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

The charity has already raised thousands of pounds towards research projects into the very rare and aggressive form of cancer, which affects less than 20% of children with leukaemia.

Whilst undergoing treatment for AML, patients have to be put in isolation for several months due to the fact their immune systems are greatly weakened and, with this form of paediatric cancer, there is currently only a 50% survival rate.

Shelley explained: “I had taken photographs of Aila and her brother shortly before she was diagnosed – so when I heard about the Foundation and all the great work they do, I really wanted to help out.

“I got in touch with Sine and suggested we create a charity calendar and she came up with the idea of using Aila’s friends as models and using the songs, poems and television programmes she loved as the inspiration for the shoots.

“Everything about the calendar has a very special meaning to Aila’s family and working on this project meant a lot to me for that reason. We were blessed in that the sun shone every time we decided to shoot and that local businesses were very generous in allowing us to shoot on their property.”

Since it was established in 2012, The Aila Coull Foundation has raised more than £140,000 for charity and funded a £48,860 research study at the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre at Glasgow University.

Sine is proud of the finished calendar, which costs only £5, and is hoping that local people will help the Foundation continue to support those investigating cures for AML by buying them.

She said: “The calendar features photos inspired by the songs I sang to Aila when she was ill such as ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ and ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’.

“The calendar also features a picture that depicts Leukaemia Awareness Month and one that shows lots of local children releasing balloons on the beach in her memory.

“In 2015, we hope to continue supporting research projects into AML by completing current projects and looking into funding upcoming studies. We will continue to fundraise in Aila’s name to help facilitate more research into this devastating disease.”

The Aila Coull Foundation 2015 Calendar costs £5 and can be purchased from this online store link.

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