Last Saturday, Mercy Ships volunteer and retired nurse from Aberdeen, Sandra Campbell, enjoyed a beautiful sunny day to complete one of Scotland’s most successful fundraising events, the Martin Currie Rob Roy Challenge which has raised significant funds for a number of worthy causes.
Mercy Ships, an international charity which operates the world’s largest floating hospital, the Africa Mercy, was the leading charity partner of the 2016 Rob Roy Challenge. The giant, state-of-the-art hospital ship takes hope and healing across the horizon and is full of donated supplies and extraordinary volunteers with the sole purpose of helping the neediest and most critically damaged people on earth through free surgery and health care.
The Rob Roy Challenge is an annual hike and bike event which starts in Pitlochry and finishes in Kenmore. The event, which is in its 11th year, has enabled over 6,000 hardy souls to battle the Scottish wilderness by taking on a range of hiking, running and cycling routes and the funds raised should break through the £3 million barrier for a number of worthy causes including Mercy Ships.
Sandra Campbell (66) is a retired nurse from Ellon in Aberdeenshire. She has volunteered for Mercy Ships six times since retiring from nursing and took on the 16 mile Rob Roy Ramble on last Saturday to help raise funds and awareness for the charity.
Sandra said: “As an Admissions Nurse on Africa Mercy, I’m often the patient’s first point of contact when they come on board. Many of them have deformities and disfigurements and, as a result, have been rejected by society. They come to the ship very hurt and lonely so it’s incredibly rewarding to see how someone changes after they’ve had their surgery and is the reason why I’ve continued to volunteer and take part in events such as the Rob Roy Challenge.
“Training for the Challenge wasn’t quite as daunting as I first anticipated! I went out both running and walking with friends as well as following the Rob Roy Challenge training programme. I actually completed a 16 mile walk as part of my training just to ensure I would be able do so on the day.
“The weather was lovely on Saturday and my training paid off! The event was fantastic and I’m so pleased to have been involved and taken part. It was a wonderful experience and great to speak with other participants along the walk and hear their motivations for taking on the challenge and fundraising.
“I just love volunteering on the Africa Mercy and being involved in the wonderful life changing work that they do. It is really rewarding to see people who had no hope of receiving the much needed medical care being given the opportunity to have free surgery which transforms their lives and brings hope to others. I feel very privileged to be involved in whatever way I can. I will be joining the Africa Mercy again in January 2017 for two months and I can’t wait.”
The funds raised by everyone taking part in the Rob Roy Challenge will help to power the floating hospital ship and pay for essential medical supplies and ship repairs; allowing Mercy Ships to continue to provide over 322 medical operations and procedures every single day.
Sheena Kelman, Chair of the Martin Currie Charitable Foundation added: “We are delighted that active volunteers, such as Sandra Campbell, and staff from the event’s charity partners literally went the extra mile to participate in the challenge and help to raise funds for their respective charities!
“Over 500 participants took part in this year’s Rob Roy Challenge and a significant amount of fund raising has been undertaken for the event’s charity partners. We’re very proud to play our part in contributing to the excellent work carried out by Mercy Ships and our other five charity partners; Breast Cancer Now, Cyrenians, Marie Curie, Mercy Corps and Maggies.”