A Highland teen raised £15,000 completing a mammoth cycle in memory of her grandfather – and had some help from Chris Evans.
Isla Easto cycled 259 miles across the wildest part of Scotland last week in the hopes of raising £4,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support in honour of her late grandfather Kenneth Easto, 78, who died of lymphoma at the end of March.
The 13-year-old set off on her challenge on Wednesday, August 5 from Fort William, accompanied by her dad Paul, with mum Susie and younger brother Euan spurring in the support vehicle, before successfully reaching Cruden Bay last Saturday.
The journey was the equivalent to climbing the height of Mont Blanc (4,800m).
Isla said she wanted to raise funds for the cancer charity as thanks for their support in caring for Mr Easto and her family.
She said: “I wanted to do something to honour my grandad’s memory and to thank Macmillan for all the help they gave him and my family at a very difficult time.
“The challenge was tough and there were points when I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep going but getting to the finish line was such an amazing feeling.”
Her dad Paul Easto, a triathlete, commended her efforts.
He said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Isla. She’s just amazing. The care from Macmillan that my dad received was just phenomenal. When Isla suggested doing this challenge in her Grandad’s memory, we just knew it was the right thing to do.
“I do triathlons and Isla has always enjoyed cycling, but covering 400km is a big challenge. As always Isla tackled it with energy and enthusiasm, even when it came to the steep hills.
By the time Isla appeared on Virgin Radio breakfast with DJ Chris Evans, her JustGiving page had hit over £11,000 with hopes of reaching £15,000.
In honour of her efforts Evans pledged £4,000 live on air, helping her raise almost 400% over her original target.
She added: “I couldn’t believe it when I realised how much money people had donated in sponsorship. When I saw it had reached £11,000 I thought it would be amazing to get it to £15,000. I didn’t expect for a minute that Chris Evans would donate £4,000.
“Being on national radio was such a surreal experience, but I’m just so grateful to Chris and to everyone who donated.”
Angela McCormack, area fundraising manager in Scotland said: “We can’t thank Isla and her family enough. It’s rare for someone so young to take on such a difficult fundraising challenge.
“We’re glad Macmillan was there for her grandad when he needed us. It’s a wonderful tribute to him to raise money to help us be there for more people with cancer.
“Isla’s fundraising is even more appreciated as due to the Coronavirus we’re facing a big drop in income, so her amazing efforts couldn’t come at a more vital time.”