Kirriemuir family dedicate 2018 to saving daughter’s sight

Courier Kirriemuir News- 3 year old Caitlin Wilkie from kirriemuir who suffers from Bardet-Biedl Syndrome,with the family embarking on a series of fundraising events next year,picture shows; Caitlin at home with her mum Ashley (38),wednesady 22nd november.

A Kirriemuir family say they are dedicating next year to raising funds to save their daughter’s eyesight.

Little Caitlin Wilkie was born with a rare genetic disorder called Bardet-Biedl syndrome.

The toddler, who will be three in December, risks losing her sight by the time she reaches her teens but her parents are setting out to raise money to support research that could prevent that from happening.

Mum and dad Ashley and Liam Wilkie will be attempting a series of challenges in 2018 in aid of BBS UK, the UK’s only registered charity dedicated to the disorder.

Caitlin was born with six digits on each of her hands and feet and had to go through two five-hour operations to remove them.

Her mother said the prospect of Caitlin losing her eyesight was the most worrying aspect of the condition.

She already has to wear glasses and the condition is set to deteriorate further by the time she reaches her teens.

Ashley said: “It’s lucky that we got an early diagnosis. The team at Ninewells were on the ball.

“The condition affects her development. She was about one year behind when it came to walking and talking.

“With nursery and school coming up in the next few years we just want to give her the best possible life at the moment.

“Day-to-day she is very happy, which is all you can ask for as a parent, but we don’t know what is around the corner.”

As they embark on their fundraising challenge, the couple plan to ask BBS UK to donate most of the money they collect to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Professor Philip Beales is carrying out research that could reduce the chance of sight loss.

Ashley added: “He hopes to have a breakthrough in the next five years, which could mean that we might be able to save Caitlin’s sight before it goes.”

Mr and Mrs Wilkie have already raised £1,100 selling wristbands in shops across Kirriemuir and have recruited some of the biggest names in Scottish rugby to their campaign.

The couple sent some of the charity bands to Glasgow Warriors and asked if the players would wear one for a photograph.

Ashley said: “We were lucky enough to receive pictures back of Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg wearing one. Hogg still wears his which is lovely.”

They also plan to auction a shirt signed by Zander Fagerson.

Mr Wilkie is preparing for a 400km cycle ride on the West Coast. The couple are also planning to organise a race in Kirriemuir and both intend to compete in the Great North Run in September.

A Just Giving page will be set up in the new year.