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Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation: Aberdeenshire mum inspired by teen’s story takes on 21 epic challenges for what would have been her 21st birthday

Lauren Donald is taking on 21 challenges to raise money for Abbie's Sparkle Foundation.
Lauren Donald is taking on 21 challenges to raise money for Abbie's Sparkle Foundation.

Despite never having met Abbie herself, Lauren Donald was so moved by the teenager’s story that she wanted to do all she could to raise money for her Sparkle Foundation.

Abbie Main, from Elgin, died from cancer on Christmas Day in 2017.

While in hospital, the 15-year-old set up Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation which she wanted to support those undergoing cancer treatment and their families.

Mrs Donald first got involved with the foundation when she met Abbie’s parents, Tammy and Russell Main, at the Dalraddy Holiday Park where they run the Sparkle Lodge. 

After donating thousands to the charity through multiple fundraising events, the 40-year-old was asked to become a trustee.

Abbie would have turned 21 in October 2023 and, to commemorate what would have been, Mrs Donald is taking on her biggest challenge yet: 21 challenges in 21 months, raising £21,000 per year for Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation.

Lauren (right) with Abbie’s mum Tammy (centre) and Shelly during a Kiltwalk.

21 challenges already under way

Between February 2022 and October 2023, Mrs Donald, a beauty therapist from Udny Green, has vowed to undertake 21 massive challenges to raise a total of £42,000 for the foundation.

They include Kiltwalks, triathlons, open water swims and the Banchory Beast, where she’s hoping to smash the record for the biggest team ever entered.

Just this weekend Mrs Donald tackled nearly 50 miles of Loch Awe on a paddleboard during the Loch Awesome challenge organised by Trent100, a feat she described as “like nothing [she] could ever have imagined.”

💖✨WHAT AN EXPERIENCE ✨💖Challenge 3 and what an event, Loch Awesome was2 crazy days, wind, rain, tears, amazing boat ride, more wind, sun then a tail wind that just stopped when we needed it 🙈✨✨BUT WE FINISHED TODAY ✨✨THANK YOU ALL FOR THE SUPPORT#lochawe#lochawesome#abbiessparklefoundation#21sparklechallenge#ellisbrighammountainsports#norframe#cairnrowancustomhomes#fencingsolutionstarves#sup#amazing#comfortzone#pushingthelimits

Posted by 21 Sparkle Challenge on Saturday, 7 May 2022

The 21 Sparkle Challenge has attracted interest from a number of local and national sponsors, with Ellis Brigham, Cairnrowan Custom Homes, Fencing Solutions Tarves and Norframe dedicated to lending a hand.

Though Mrs Donald will be taking on all 21 challenges, she is encouraging others to join her where and when they can, saying “the more the merrier”.

‘I see what Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation does for children’

The mum of two explained why she felt moved to raise money for Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation.

“I see what the foundation does for children,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s to make memories, sometimes it’s just to get away from the treatment and just be away from home and forget what’s happening to their family, because it’s horrific.

“Kids can apply for ‘sparkles’, that’s what Abbie called them, if they want their room decorated or if they want a bit of technology or if they’re just wanting cheered up. All the money that’s raised goes directly to the charity and to the kids, that’s why I wanted to do it for them.”

Lauren Donald is being joined by friends and other members of the charity as she takes on the challenges. Pictured here are Heather, Adrienne, Coralie and Lauren.

With money already flooding in from sponsors and her JustGiving page, Mrs Donald believes she’s already close to the £20,000 mark after just three months of fundraising for her 21 challenge for Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation.

Abbie’s mum ‘blown away’

Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation has now donated nearly 900 “sparkles” to families, the gestures being named after Abbie’s love of glitter.

Mrs Main, Abbie’s mum, said she was “blown away” when she heard what Mrs Donald was willing to do to raise money for the foundation.

She said: “To do this, 21 events in 21 months in honour of Abbie’s 21st birthday, to me as Abbie’s mum is just amazing.

“Anybody could do anything for Abbie and as her mum I’d love it, but to take on something so immense and to want to raise so much, I just thought ‘wow this is such a huge thing’.”

Abbie Main, whose Sparkle Foundation has helped nearly 900 families.

She explained how it felt to have someone so dedicated to the memory of her daughter despite never having met her.

“She’s got that energy, I just feel that connection with her,” said Mrs Main.

“To have someone else come on board and take Abbie into their heart so deeply, it’s just been brilliant to have her.”

You can donate to the 21 Sparkle Challenge here. You can also follow Mrs Donald on her 21 Sparkle Challenge on her dedicated Facebook page.

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