Not many 70 year olds can say they celebrated their big birthday by stepping off a 165 foot platform, but this May Elaine Muir from Longniddry will be doing exactly that.
Elaine, who will turn 70 a month before her abseil, has asked friends, family and colleagues to sponsor her abseil off the Forth Rail Bridge for Alzheimer Scotland instead of buying her a birthday gift.
Speaking to us about her challenge, Elaine said: “I'm definitely up for doing daft challenges! I love getting out and doing all sorts of things and if I can support a charity at the same time, that's great.
“Ten years ago, when I was 59, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully I beat the cancer but having that scare definitely changed my attitude to life. Life is too short - you should definitely make sure you have fun and help others along the way.
“I support a variety of different charities that are close to my heart. In the past I've taken part in the Race for Life, a Tap-a-thon (tap dancing) and a Zumbathon. I love to dance!
“At the end of last year I decided I wanted to do an abseil. A lot of people have a 'bucket list' and taking part in an abseil is definitely on my list. I just went on Google to see what was coming up in 2017 and saw this one for Alzheimer Scotland. Both the timing and the cause fitted with what I wanted to do, so I signed up!
“Dementia is something that has touched my family's life and my friends too. Eleven years ago my mother-in-law, Ciss, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I was very close to her. When she was in sheltered housing I went to see her every day, helping her out around the house, taking her shopping and all those sorts of things. When she moved into a care home I still visited her every day.
“After Ciss passed away I volunteered at Bield Housing Association as a volunteer / befriender. Many of their residents are living with dementia and I was glad to be able to offer them a bit of companionship. I had experience from looking after my mother-in-law that I could draw on.
“Recently my close friend's mother has been diagnosed with dementia and she's having to make difficult decisions about her mum's care and whether she can still live on her own. Dementia is something that affects so many people so I am really pleased to be doing this abseil for Alzheimer Scotland.
“Once I'd signed up to the abseil my son helped me get my Just Giving page up and running online. I've been so pleased to see all the donations that have come in already, both online and in person. In fact, just after I signed up I bumped into another dog walker on the beach and when I was telling him about my abseil he immediately gave me £10 there and then. People's generosity and willingness to give is really surprising and heart-warming.
“I'm looking forward to the day of the abseil. My husband will be there, and my wee 3 year old granddaughter with her mum and dad. Some of the ladies from my Zumba class have said they'll come along to cheer me on too. I can't wait!”
Impressed by Elaine's daredevil challenge? Sponsor her on her Just Giving page.
Inspired by Elaine's energy? Find out about taking part in the Forth Rail Abseil here.