|On the 15 July 2007, Jamie and fellow inspirational amputee Olivia Giles launched a brand new charity. Jamie and Olivia, who is also a quadruple amputee, had already raised thousands of pounds between them.They teamed up to launch 500 miles, an organisation dedicated to supporting amputees by funding initiatives which deliver prosthetic services and related care in areas of desperate need. With the blessing of Charlie and Craig Reid, they borrowed the lyrics of the Proclaimers’ famous song as an aspirational goal for those they aim to help, and to give the charity a Scottish identity.
500 miles is now run solely by Olivia who has done an incredible job in getting the charity going and providing prosthetic treatment for countless children and adults in Malawi and Zambia.
Olivia Giles was a partner in the commercial property department of a large law firm when she contracted the blood poisoning form of meningitis in February 2002, which led to the amputation of her hands and feet.
Since then she has worked to raise awareness of meningitis and has raised close to £500,000 for the meningitis cause.
Olivia first met Jamie when her family asked him to visit her in hospital five years ago. As Olivia and Jamie both know well, losing a limb need not be a sentence to an early death or a life of misery and lack of fulfilment.
A little shared knowledge and even the, cheapest prosthetic devices can go a long way to vastly improving the quality of the lives of many people who have little or no opportunity to overcome their disability – people who would otherwise be bed or wheelchair bound, unable to work or forced to live in discomfort without limbs or with limbs homemade from scrap.
500 miles fundraises in the UK so that the charity can make strategic grants to suitable projects in places where the need is greatest. This has involved funding the education and training of prosthetists, the purchase of components for limbs and the building of prosthetic centres, in both Malawi and Zambia. In the UK the NHS provides prosthetic limbs to all amputees who are able to use them allowing them to get on with their lives.
In other parts of the world, where, every year, thousands of men, women and children lose arms and legs due to war, landmines, disease and poverty, loss of a limb means loss of livelihood, home and family – if not death.
Visit www.500miles.co.uk for more details