A community of support

Our community of supporters has once again proven its ingenuity in turning family events and personal challenges into fundraising opportunities for the University’s many causes. Two of them reveal what has motivated them to fundraise their way.

Old Silk Road drive

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Gus Alusi

Name: Gus Alusi

Activity: Driving along the old Silk Road

Raised: £45,500 for the Patrick Wild Centre for Research into Autism, Fragile X Syndrome and Intellectual Disabilities

“I’ve supported the Patrick Wild Centre since its inception. When my son was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome, my wife Reem and I had more questions and concerns than could be answered – until we met the Centre’s Professor Peter Kind. Since then we have embarked on several fundraising challenges to raise funds to advance the brilliant work of the Centre.

In April of this year we drove along the old Silk Route to Tashkent, in Uzbekistan. This challenge saw us driving between eight to ten hours a day over very tough terrain.

We covered approximately 7,000 miles, making our way through France, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

We called the trip Silk4X and raised over £40,000, which the University has graciously matched. These funds will pay to appoint two PhD students who will research gene therapy for fragile X syndrome.

I’m still recovering from that grueling trip, but the support has made it worthwhile. Reem and I constantly worry about Kenz and his future, and want to be able to help him and other children with similar conditions.”

Sanctuary Walk

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Ali Newell and Sanctuary Walk participants

Name: Ali Newell

Activity: Participated in the Sanctuary Walk for Refugees

Raised: £1,353.31 for the Humanitarian Assistance Fund

“I decided to take part in the walk because Edinburgh takes pride in welcoming global citizens in need of safety – whether that be from war, poverty, or as a result of the recent refugee crisis. The intention of this fundraising walk was to increase the number of refugees accessing education through scholarships and online learning for the University’s new Humanitarian Assistance Fund.

We started in Edinburgh, camped overnight near St Bridget’s Kirk in Dalgety Bay for stories and festivities, sailed by boat to Inchcolm and its Abbey in the Firth of Forth, and returned to the Scottish Parliament where there were speeches. The walk was a symbolic reminder of the journeying of refugees on foot, in vehicles and by boat, in order to reach a place of sanctuary.”