In November 2015 Natalia was living in Cheltenham and enjoying life as the mother of her beloved 5-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Originally from Ukraine, and with her adult son now independent, she was successfully managing to juggle working as a Personal Assistant around Elizabeth’s school day and dedicating the rest of her time on being with her.
All that changed on the morning of 22nd November, when Elizabeth was taken ill with a rare auto immune condition called HLH. Despite the best efforts of the superb staff at the PICU of Bristol Children’s Hospital, Elizabeth lost her battle with the illness 18 days later, on 10th December 2015. And Natalia’s life changed forever.
Grief stricken, Natalia felt strongly that she wanted to honour her daughter’s memory by raising money for the hospital where she was treated and in so doing help other poorly children. Being by the sea was something Elizabeth loved and only four weeks later Natalia created Elizabeth’s Footprint and decided to walk round the coast of Britain. A group of fellow mums and friends, keen to do whatever they could to support her, got to work and helped put things in place so that Natalia could start walking.
Against all the odds, on 14th February 2016 at Durdle Door in Dorset, Natalia started to put one foot in front of the other. In the weeks and months ahead, steps turned into miles, and miles turned into hundreds then thousands of miles. Just under a year later (with amazing support from the team back in Cheltenham and many of kind-hearted people around the country) Natalia had walked 6000 miles round the entire British coastline, raising over £232,000 for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Along the way, Natalia’s incredible achievements were recognised by the ‘Just Giving Endurance Fundraiser of the Year 2016” and the Prime Minister’s ‘Points of Light’ awards.
Natalia remains committed to raising funds for such an important cause and is even more determined after hearing about the hospital’s hopes of extending the current PICU from 18 to 24 beds so that they could accommodate an increasing number of children like Elizabeth who require specialist intensive care with ever increasing complex needs.
To support this mission, Natalia is currently undertaking her third Walk of Love and invites people to join in and help Elizabeth’s Footprint Appeal reach £1,000,000 target.
You can help Natalia by supporting her with your own Acts Of Kindness such as holding a fundraising event, sponsoring, walking, hosting or just reading and sharing her posts. She is always hugely appreciative and humbled by any help given – no matter how big or small.
Natalia is uniquely determined, and 100% committed to her endeavours. Her spirit and focussed passion shine through in everything she does and one way or another she will ensure she achieves her goal.
photo Courtesy of ‘Mouse About The Town’ photographers
Or go to https://www.justgiving.com/Natalia-Spencer/ or you can text ELIF 55 to 70070