Mum with incurable brain disorder completes four loop-the-loops to support Strathcarron Hospice and Scottish Huntington's Association

A mum took her daring double charity wing walk to “another level” when she strapped herself into an aircraft for four loop-the-loops and two barrel rolls.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 9:45 am

Strathcarron Hospice staff nurse Gillian McNab has raised a remarkable £7000 for the Fankerton service and Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA) after tiptoeing along the outside of a plane as it performed a series of breathtaking stunts.

Gillian, 51, was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, an incurable brain disorder, ten years ago and set herself a bucket list comprising various thrill-seeking challenges which has included a skydive and fire walks.

Her most recent hair-raising event saw Gillian take to the sky over Yorkshire at the start of July to generate money for and raise awareness of Strathcarron and SHA.

Strathcarron Hospice staff nurse Gillian McNab has raised £7000 for the Fankerton service and Scottish Huntington's Association. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The Lanark woman, who is symptom-free, dedicated her fundraising mission to her late mum, Myra, who also had Huntington’s and died in 2001.

A rare, genetic, degenerative brain disorder, Huntington’s affects movement, coordination, mood and the ability to walk, talk, eat and think.

As she has the gene herself, Gillian knows her daughters Emily, 20, Kerry, 18, and 14-year-old Gemma have a 50 per cent chance of developing the condition.

Her trio of daughters also made the trip down south for the fundraiser, which got off to a slightly sticky start.

Strathcarron Hospice nurse Gillian McNab took to the skies over Yorkshire as she was strapped into an aircraft which performed four loop-the-loops. Contributed.

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Gillian believes her fundraising plan wouldn’t have turned out to be quite as “crazy” were it not for the logistical difficulties the family experienced.

She said: “It went to another level because of the circumstances at the time.

“I went from having anxiety about doing it, to whether I was going to manage one loop. It was cancelled on the Saturday but because they knew my girls and I weren’t going to be travelling back down, and I was going to be staying in Yorkshire for the weekend anyway, I got to do it.

“The weather was precarious and up until 15 minutes before I didn’t know if it was going to happen. It gave the organiser the opportunity to tell me about the pilot and I decided I could try two loops, one for each charity.

“The pilot said, ‘Why don’t you double it up and do two barrel rolls?’ and I said okay! Because I was desperate to do it, it hyped me up.

“It was just crazy but it was amazing!”

Including Gift Aid contributions, Gillian’s online fundraising page has so far collected more than £7000.

She added: “My girls were saying the total was going up and up, as I shared a picture beforehand.

“People have been so generous – that’s what spurred me on. I’m blown away.

“Thank you to everybody who has supported me and every single person who has donated. These charities really need it.”

Strathcarron posted: “We want to thank you, Gillian, for challenging yourself and supporting your hospice.

“You really are a Hospice Hero.”

The hospice is asking anyone inspired by Gillian to take on their own fundraising challenge.

The post continued: “Choose your own challenge from sponsored silence, gameathon to bake sale and join in our Summer Festival of Fundraising.”

Click here to sign up and take part.

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