A STRATHAVEN woman and her fearless team of volunteers will be jumping out of an aeroplane later this month to raise cash to get some very sick children airborne.
Lisa Wheat, 31, is Scottish community fundraiser for a small national charity called When You Wish Upon a Star, which grants the wishes of children aged two to 16 who are suffering from life-threatening illness.
As part of their regular wish-granting programme, every year they charter a plane to fly dozens of sick children to Lapland in the run-up to Christmas to meet the “real” Santa Claus.
However, this year, due to the economic climate, this wonderful day trip, which costs around £80,000 to run, is in jeopardy.
So Lisa decided something dramatic had to be done to raise money towards it.
She enlisted the help of her brothers, James and Sean Boyle, and their friends, and the result is that 25 people, including the trio, will be taking part in sponsored sky dives.
These will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 17 and 18, at St Andrew’s Sky Dive Centre, Glenrothes.
James, 29, and Sean, 24, will be sky-diving on the Saturday along with 14 work colleagues of Sean’s at HSBC in Hamilton, and Lisa and eight of her friends will be sky-diving on the Sunday.
Lisa first became involved with the charity, which was set up in 1990 by a Nottingham woman, through her husband, Marcus, about eight or nine years ago.
Marcus, 35, who makes 3D animations and motion graphics, sometimes does work for the charity and he happened to mention to them that his wife would be willing to help out.
They did not have anyone north of the border and over the years since, she has found herself doing more and is now their Scottish community fund-raiser.
As well as fundraising, Lisa helps organise the trips and sometimes accompanies the children when they are granted their wishes.
Last Christmas, for example, she helped with the youngsters on their flight to Lapland.
Lisa explained: “We flew from Prestwick with about 70 youngsters aged from two upwards.
“As well as the flight, we organise the families’ travel from wherever in the country they live, to the airport and their overnight stay at an hotel. And as well as meeting Father Christmas in Lapland, the children also visit the enchanted forest and enjoy husky rides and other fun activities.
“But this year the economic downturn has put a question mark over whether or not we can afford to run the trip.
“So we decided to try to raise cash for it and we hope local folk will be generous.”
Lisa added: “I am appealing to the people of Strathaven and district to assist us in making this once-in-a-lifetime trip come true for these very sick children.”
If you would like to offer help, please contact Lisa Wheat directly on 01357 529 950 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org