Community effort to help keep Moray family mobile

Keith and Karen Douglas - community rallying around as they face tough challenges
Keith and Karen Douglas – community rallying around as they face tough family challenges

A MORAY COMMUNITY is rallying around a family as they face tough challenges in the face of a debilitating lung condition.

Burghead man Keith Douglas had to have both his legs amputated at a time when he and his family were already battling to cope after he was diagnosed as suffering from sarcoidosis in his lungs – unfortunately, an illness for which the family have been told there is no cure.  Keith’s wife Karen is his full-time Carer helped by their 10-year-old Scott.

Following the double-amputation operation earlier this year Keith was provided with an electric wheelchair – however, they face mobility problems with that because it does not fit into the mobility van they currently own.

Now friends in Burghead have rallied behind the family with a fundraising effort aimed at raising sufficient funds to allow the van to be converted so as to ensure the family can remain fully mobile.

Leading the fundraising effort is family friend Lara Kirkwood, who this week told insideMoray: “Unfortunately Keith has now become too weak to be able to transfer from his wheelchair into the car – and that is leaving him housebound.

“Karen wishes to adapt the van so that Keith can drive his electric wheelchair into it without all the hassle of transferring.

“Many people in Burghead who know the family really want to help all they can – this is a family that never moan about their situation, they just get on with things as best they can.

“When I looked at the van myself I could see that this was something that could be transformed by Karen – but first they needed to find a way of funding the cost of customising the van to Keith’s needs.”

After researching fundraising methods online Lara decided to launch a crowdfunding effort to try and assist the family with the aim of helping them enjoy and treasure the time they had left together.

Lara added: “The fundraising page is doing well – but I need to make more people aware. We have already been delighted with local businesses offering help, including the Kinloss Garage, Strathisla Valeting and Pozzi Upholstering who have all offered to provide their services.

“It really is fantastic to see their friends in the community and complete strangers come together when they hear about the plight of the family. I’ve never been so passionate about any cause in my life – and I’m determined to keep going until we make this dream come alive for the family.”

So far Lara’s campaign has raised just over £1500 towards the £5000 target required to convert the campervan – with a deadline of January 12 to raise the balance.

She said: “I really hope that when many more people in Burghead and throughout Moray become aware of this family’s plight they will perhaps help in whatever way they can towards our target.

“It is truly incredible to see the strength they have as a family, I would dearly love to be able to ensure that at least they can all be together at all times.”

Any individuals, companies or organisations wishing to help in Lara’s campaign should go to her crowdfunding page for details.