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  • 7 Jan

    Olivia Giles talks about her charity, 500 miles and how you can get involved in the BIG Dinner, a major fundraising event taking place in March which aims to raise over £500,000 in a single night.

    Posted by Team Macsween


    On Saturday 7th March I hope thousands of people will sit down to a BIG dinner with me and help someone in Africa stand up and walk.

    I want to raise £500,000 to support the work of 500 miles, a charity I set up in 2008 to support disabled people in Africa lead independent lives.

    Twelve years ago I lost both my hands, and my legs below the knee. I fell ill from meningitis, and the only way doctors could save my life was to amputee my limbs.

    I will never forget the profound relief and elation of the day I took my first steps with my new limbs, unaided. It was the beginning of a new life.

    Now 500 miles helps hundreds of people in sub-Saharan Africa build a new life.

    Our two clinics in Malawi make and fit prostheses and orthosis for people of all ages.

    We never turn anyone away. We would like to continue this work, and expand it to other countries, such as Zambia.

    I was lucky, our NHS provided my prostheses for free. The average cost of an artificial limb in Malawi is around £175, which is out of reach for most Malawians. So thousands of people are forced to spend their lives in a basic wheelchair, or worse, crawling along the ground.

    I am delighted that Macsween is supporting the BIG dinner, as are celebrities such as Ian Rankin, Kaye Adams, Hardeep Singh Kholi and Alexander McCall Smith. Nick Nairn is our resident chef and we have Sue Lawrence, Scotland’s Baking Queen on board too.

    The Scotsman is the BIG dinner’s media partner, and between now and 7th March 2015, you can read the latest news and updates on the Scotsman’s and the BIG dinner’s websites.

    I want us to hold the biggest dinner in the world on 7th March, but you can hold yours on any day that suits you from now to the end of March – what matters is that you take part.

    So please, sign up now and help someone in Africa stand up to walk.

    Scottish charity 500 miles is holding a BIG dinner on Saturday 7th March to raise money for its work in Africa. Read the story behind the BIG dinner here and find out how you can take part