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Renfrewshire woman plans to quick step over coals in memory of Sharon

Liz is turning up the heat on motor neurone disease.

Posted : 28/10/2021

In memory of her friend and former coworker, Erskine resident Liz McGowan will walk over six meters of burning hot embers as part of MND Scotland’s annual Firewalk.

Liz first met Sharon Aitken when they began working together in January 2007 and the pair quickly developed a close friendship.

Sharon, who lived in Bearsden, Glasgow, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in July 2016 and lived with the condition for five years before sadly passing away on August 3rd, 2021, aged 55.

Remembered for her smile and wonderful sense of humour, Sharon was a huge fan of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and loved to chat about the dancers, celebrities and their fabulous outfits.

Explaining why she chose to take on the Firewalk, Liz, who worked for the Clydebank Co-op Funeral Directors before retiring in 2018, said: I did the Kiltwalk a few years ago to raise funds for MND Scotland with some work colleagues, after Sharon was diagnosed. I still enjoy walking, but I don’t think I’m quite up to a Kiltwalk anymore and when I received the email from MND Scotland about the Firewalk event, I thought this is a challenge I can have a go at.”

“This is something Sharon couldn’t do but I think if I’d asked her to do this with me, when she was able, she would have said yes without hesitation. I am feeling more excited than nervous at the moment and I’m hoping some of my family will be on hand at the event to cheer me on. I’m also excited about the motivational talk beforehand and overall, very much looking forward to the event!” 

So far Liz has raised an amazing £980 and with five weeks to go until the event, is on track to surpass her £1,000 goal.

Remembering her late friend, Liz said: She was so strong and faced this debilitating illness with such courage. She was an amazing woman and an inspiration to everyone who knew her.

“When Sharon could no longer walk and was confined to her wheelchair she had regular visits at home from her hairdresser, to have her hair and nails done, and always looked her best. No matter when I visited, I was always greeted with a beautiful smile and the same when I said goodbye.”

The Firewalk, which will take place on December 2nd at Hampden Park stadium, will see participants putting mind over matter as they walk across 20ft of embers hot enough to melt aluminium. Through facing their fear, Firewalk participants like Liz help to raise money that will fund services vital for people in Scotland who are living with MND.

Liz continued: “Sharon was contacted by MND Scotland very soon after her diagnosis and received help, support and advice from the charity, from getting aids to make things easier at home, refitting her bathroom to help make things easier, offering financial help and advice, even to arrange therapies such as massages, which Sharon loved!”

Iain McWhirter, Head of Fundraising at MND Scotland, said: “It’s brilliant to see people like Liz taking part in our Firewalk and helping to raise money that will help to fund both life-changing services as well as vital research and I would encourage anyone who feels brave enough, to sign up and take part in what is always an unforgettable experience”

You can support Liz’s brave fundraising effort by sponsoring her here.

Sign up to the Firewalk and brave the coals for an amazing cause here

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“It’s brilliant to see people like Liz taking part in our Firewalk and helping to raise money that will help to fund both life-changing services as well as vital research and I would encourage anyone who feels brave enough, to sign up and take part in what is always an unforgettable experience”

Iain McWhirter | Head of Fundraising

Iain McWhirter | Head of Fundraising