Abbie inspires James to take Killiecrankie leap for charity

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It takes guts to jump off a platform more than 100 feet above a wooded gorge – but that is exactly what daredevil dad James Young did to raise funds for a cause very close to his heart.

James from Bellshill leaped at the chance to take part in a bungee jump after he was approached by a charity that has done so much to help his family.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus (SBH) Scotland helps families of children born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus – or water on the brain, as it is more commonly known – and cerebal palsy.

James’ daughter Abbie, whose is now seven, has spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

But that didn’t stop her going along to watch her dad leap from a platform suspended 40 metres above the Pass of Killliecrankie near Pitlochry in Perthshire.

His wife Dannielle and their other daughter, two-year-old Emily, were there to see him in action too.

James, a team leader at a milk processing company, said: “I really loved doing the jump. I’m not scared of heights and, truth be told, I am a bit of a thrillseeker.

“I was shouting down to Abbie from the top of the platform and she was shouting back up to me.

“I was a wee bit nervous when I actually jumped but I just shouted Abbie’s name as I stepped off the platform.”

James decided to do the jump to coincide with his 37th birthday. He was among a group of 42 other fundraisers who collectively raised more than £5000 for SBH Scotland.

“Individually I managed to raise £500 for the charity which we are very happy with,” said James.

“My wife used to work with me, so all my work colleagues know about Abbie and were very generous.

“Dannielle gave up her job when Abbie was born as she needs a lot of help with day to day things. She has been brilliant.

“She does so much for her and makes sure she is not left out of anything. Abbie just takes everything in her stride but she also knows how to get her own way!”

And there’s nothing wrong with Abbie’s tongue.

James said: “Abbie is as sharp as a tack and is a very, very chatty little girl.

“She goes to a mainstream school – St Gerard’s in Bellshill – and although she has no movement below her waist, she does not let her condition bother her and does not have a fear of things.

“She can be quite naughty, but its naughty in a nice way. She has me wrapped around her little finger and I think she knows it!

“Her little sister is just starting to realise that Abbie can’t walk so puts things in places she can’t get them.

“The two of them just play off each other, but are brilliant together.”

The couple knew Abbie had spina bifia when she was born but was not diagnosed with hydrocephalus until she was three.

SBH Scotland put the family in touch with a support group to find out more about the condition.

James said: “The charity has been great and given us a so much support.

“Spina bifida is basically a hole in the spine where the vertebrae has not formed and, depending on how high up the spine it is, it has an effect on how nerves work.”

The couple were also very grateful to Abbie’s school for making modifications to ensure she was not excluded from areas accessible to other pupils.

James said: “There used to be steps into the assembly hall but there’s now a lift so Abbie doesn’t have to go the long way round to get into the hall.”

Following the success of the bungee jump James is hoping to do a tandem skydive next year.

“It is something I would love to do but we will have to wait and see if I can find the time to do it,” he said.

The bungee money will be used to provide personalised home and hospital support for families in Scotland with children who have spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, said: “We are hugely grateful to James and the other participants for taking such a giant leap for SBH Scotland.

“The Killliecrankie Bungee Jump is just one of many exciting events taking place this year.

“Already this year, people have walked on fire, abseiled from the Falkirk Wheel and braved the icy Scottish waters on New Year’s Day.”

SBH Scotland aims to help and support families who have a child with spina bifida, hydrocephalus or cerebral palsy.

To make a donation visit, or to take part in a challenge call 03455 211 600.