Laura, who now lives in Renfrew, has previously taken part in treks to Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu for the charity, and has now set her sights on the Great Wall.
The Community Alarm responder is stepping up to the challenge in memory of close family friend and Park Mains High technical teacher Gordon MacVicar, who lost his battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2011.
MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided. There is currently no cure or effective treatment for MND.
“I knew Gordon almost all of my life,” Laura remembered fondly.
“My mum and Gordon’s wife Janice met at Toddler Group over 30 years ago, when Scott MacVicar and I were babies — fortunately, my dad and Gordon hit it off and became very good friends.
“Scott (Gordon’s son) and I went on to school together with his sister Gayle was in the year below us.
“My parents have enjoyed a long friendship with Janice and Gordon and would often go on family holidays together — we all miss Gordon very much.”
She continued: “Gordon was a technical teacher at Park Mains High School and his sense of fun and laughter was loved by all who came in contact with him — his humour stood out for most.
“He was a huge wind up merchant, many not realising he was winding them up.
“His family, friends, colleagues and all the pupils he had come in contact with were devastated when he passed away in 2011.
“Gordon fought his illness with great dignity, keeping his sense of humour even when he was communicating through an iPad, as he was no longer able to talk, still managing the odd wind up or two.
“MND Scotland gave the family a lot of support during Gordon’s illness supporting Janice and their family too.
“MND is a devastating illness with no cure currently. For those diagnosed with MND their journey is short, roughly two years from diagnosis to losing the battle. They require very specialised care and support which MND Scotland offer to every person in Scotland when they are diagnosed and to the family for as long as they need it.”
Laura is aiming to raise £4,000 for charity, MND Scotland, and her fundraising efforts are already well underway.
She said “I have had a hot dog stall at the MND Scotland Fun Run at Strathclyde Park and have organised car boot sales. So far, with the support of friends and family, I have raised over £500, with more than a year to go. I’ll also be organising a race night, an afternoon tea and a family Easter egg hunt in April, with fun surprises for the adults.”
Although Laura has already taken part in two overseas treks, she’s already started training again, “I am doing the Kiltwalk in Edinburgh this September with Mhairi Dunlop, a fellow China trekker, and have joined a woman’s hillwalking group to help with training. I am going walking with them as often as I can to get my fitness up.”
Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s head of fundraising, said “Laura has been a huge supporter of the charity over the last 6 years and together with the other 42 Great Wall of China participants, she will have an experience of a lifetime. We are so grateful for Laura’s hard work and support to raise vital funds and awareness. Without supporters like her we wouldn’t be able to continue supporting people affected by MND across Scotland, or funding a cure for this devastating disease.”
To support Laura’s fundraising efforts for MND Scotland visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-graham40.