THE FAMILY OF brave Forres toddler Eileidh Paterson are on the brink of navigating their way towards an incredible achievement.
Now the campaign to raise £100,000 to send the three-year-old to the United States for vital cancer treatment is being set for another boost – from local orienteering enthusiasts.
Eileidh story has already stirred an incredible reaction from people throughout Moray and well beyond, resulting in it now being a near certainty that the toddler will receive the unique Neuroblastoma treatment which is currently not available anywhere in the UK.
To help ensure Eileidh gets over that finish line Orienteering’s regional development officer in Moray, Mike Rodgers, has organised a special route-finding challenge that he hopes orienteering veterans and those with no knowledge of the sport whatsoever are willing to have a go at.
“As no brainers go this was the one to end them all” said Rodgers, who added: “Orienteering is all about making journeys, dealing with setbacks along the way and finally the sense of exhilaration when you get to the end of the road having achieved your goal.
“With Forres throwing so much support behind orienteering as we get ready for this summer’s World Orienteering Championships, the urgency to get Eileidh on the plane to the USA was something we simply couldn’t ignore.”
Several local orienteers and their friends have rallied round to help, while Active Schools Moray has stepped in with the loan of their suite of electronic event equipment. Moravian Orienteers have donated maps and other equipment – and Brodie Castle, which was the base for the Moray 2013 Scottish 6 Days Orienteering event, has opened up their grounds to host the event.
Starting after school on Thursday, June 11 on the grounds of the Castle, ‘Eileidh’s Explorers’ will be given a choice of two map-reading challenges.
Mike explained: “There will be a short course of about 2km designed for children and families, while those who are up for a more serious challenge can tackle a 5km route that will explore all corners of the estate.
“There will also be a special animal hunt for toddlers in the Castle play park that was opened recently after finding from the Budge Trust.”
The event will run from 4pm until the early evening, people can register any time up to 7pm and organisers are hoping to have everyone home by 8.30pm in time for the announcement of the winners of special free raffle.
Everyone who takes part will automatically be entered in to the draw.
Eileidh’s mother Gail Paterson said: “People who come early can go home for tea and come back later to find out how much we’ve raised, see who the best navigators were, and maybe claim their raffle prize.
“The challenge is to find all the markers – we’ll be giving everyone electronic tags, so when they get back to the finish they will get a printout showing how long they took and which ones you managed to find.
“The aim is to try and get a clear round! This allows the super-fast navigators to do it as a race while everyone else can concentrate on just finding their way around.”
Entry to Eileidh’s Challenge is by donation, with people asked to chip in whatever they can afford.