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​Grant Jardine 

ENABLE Scotland fundraiser Grant Jardine is aiming for a hat trick. Grant shares his 60th birthday with that of ENABLE – and he has cycled thousands of miles around the globe to help the charity boost its finances. His hope is that this year’s anniversary expedition to Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama will bring his total amount raised to £60,000. 

Over the past eight years, Grant has cycled across 12 countries and raised an incredible £48,000. While he admits that his initial involvement with the charity was somewhat accidental, he explains that the sense of pride he has gained has kept him coming back for more. 

“I first became involved with ENABLE back in 2006 when a friend invited me to join him on a cycle challenge of the Grand Canyon. ENABLE was the only charity doing the Grand Canyon at the time and that’s really why we chose it.

“Regardless of becoming involved by default, I’ve stayed with them ever since through what I can only describe as a sense of loyalty. I am proud to be helping ENABLE in any way I can and I can’t imagine doing this for anyone else.”

Having never experienced a personal connection with a person who has a learning disability, Grant attributes his loyalty to the fact that raising money for ENABLE has also heightened his awareness of the issues that people supported by the organisation face in their everyday lives. 

“Being involved with ENABLE has really brought me closer to what life is like for people with learning disabilities. It’s a very humbling experience. 

“There are real front-runners on the charity scene that we are very aware of such as Cancer Research, Guide Dogs for the Blind and so on, but the challenges that people with learning disabilities have to deal with don’t seem to get as much attention. I appreciate the work that ENABLE does to change that and I want to offer support in any way I can.”

Although he has raised thousands of pounds to help give people who have learning disabilities the life they choose, Grant admits that there are personal rewards associated with fundraising which have enhanced his own life. 

“Being an ENABLE fundraiser has given me so many amazing life experiences. I’ve cycled across America, South America, Canada and South East Asia to name but a few. It’s the best way to see a country and to experience the culture, wildlife and so many other things you never usually get to see in such detail. I have also met some amazing people from all walks of life and that camaraderie, along with the incredible sense of achievement from knowing that you are helping people who need it, can make for quite an emotional finishing line!” 

Grant also explains that returning from his trips “full of beans” about the fantastic experiences he has had have prompted his fundraising to become A somewhat family affair. 

“My wife Julie felt a bit envious of the wonderful time I was having so in 2009 she joined me in a cycle across the Andes, Argentina and Chile. Unfortunately, she became seriously ill during our second cycle in Vietnam and Cambodia in 2011, but she is now fighting fit again.”

Grant returned to Vietnam and Cambodia in 2012 to complete the trip during which Julie became ill, and was accompanied by his son Scott, who also joined him for the anniversary trip across Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama in March.

“My son lives in London and I don’t get to see him very often. These fundraising cycles have given us the opportunity to spend some quality time together and share wonderful experiences.” 

After eight years of all-year-round, all-weather training and the continual challenge of securing sources of funding, what motivates Grant to keep getting back on his the bike for ENABLE Scotland?

“Well that’s easy. Yes, I’m having fun and seeing the world, but what motivates me most is raising money for people who truly need it. Of course there are days when you can’t be bothered and you don’t feel like completing the cycle, but it’s not simply about not wanting to let yourself down, it’s about not wanting to let anyone else down either. That’s what keeps me going.”  

ENABLE Scotland,INSPIRE House,3 Renshaw Place,Eurocentral,N Lanarkshire,ML1 4UF.Tel: 01698 737 000. Registered Charity Number SC009024

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