Mobility challenges didn’t stop Freya from completing Aberdeen Kiltwalk

June 8, 2022

An Aberdeenshire woman who has complex additional support needs and who struggles to walk unaided celebrated her comeback from surgery which left her wheelchair-bound by taking part in the Aberdeen Kiltwalk.


Freya Laird-Bisset, a residential student at Camphill School Aberdeen, a school for children and young people with learning disabilities and complex additional support needs, raised an incredible £1,846 in sponsorship by undertaking the challenging 3-mile walk, with all money raised going to Camphill School Aberdeen.


21-year-old Freya, who is originally from Strachan, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome as a baby. It is a rare genetic condition caused by missing genetic material on chromosome number 15. Due to her condition, she has limited mobility and last year underwent surgery after a fall which left her in a wheelchair for several months. After a long rehabilitation, she was determined to take part in the Kiltwalk with her mum Gillian and her friends to raise vital funds for Camphill School Aberdeen.


Freya’s mum, Gillian, said: “Freya’s journey at Camphill was rocky at first as there was so much to unpack in regard to her relationship with schooling before Camphill. She wasn’t the easiest to handle, but the staff were so compassionate and put procedures and structure in place to ensure she was safe and empowered to thrive. Myself, Freya and my friends came together to undertake the wee walk at the Kiltwalk, we smashed our £1000 target and are so proud to give back to a charity that has helped us so much!”


Camphill School Aberdeen has been delivering life-transforming opportunities for children and young people with learning disabilities and complex additional support needs for more than 95 day and residential students. Set over three leafy campuses, its unique approach combines care, education (including SQA qualifications) and meaningful vocational workshops, such as weaving, farming, woodwork and bike maintenance, a wide range of therapies, from massage to equine therapy, with on-site medical support.


Freya has attended Camphill School Aberdeen since she was 12 years old and has come on leaps and bounds during that time. To train for the Kiltwalk, she had been undertaking morning walks with Camphill’s Senior House Coordinator Ashley Mildon’s dog called Cleo, as well as taking daily walks to visit one of the horses on the Camphill estate in Miltimber.


Gillian continued: “Camphill has been the perfect fit for Freya. She has developed so much, and I am so incredibly proud of her. The structure, not being pressured, one-to-one teaching, and the peacefulness at Camphill is just what she needed. Freya has progressed incredibly well in the school’s skills development workshops and has formed strong friendships with the staff who look after her. Freya told me, when her twin brother Kerr went away to university, that Camphill is her further education and she sees it as her decision. Being part of the young adult programme gives her a sense of belonging and something close to a ‘normal’ life.”


Camphill School Aberdeen’s Senior House Coordinator, Ranhild Nino-Ramirez, said: “We are so proud of Freya for undertaking this fantastic challenge, she has come so far in her recovery since her surgery and this is such a great way to celebrate her getting stronger again. All of Freya’s peers helped by making t-shirts in their craft workshops for Freya’s challenge, It’s been so lovely to see!”


Gillian added: “Camphill School Aberdeen has truly transformed Freya with their kind support and inclusion, I will be forever grateful to them and I am so incredibly proud of the young woman my daughter has become, despite her challenges in life, she has defied the odds. Sunday was such a fantastic day and Freya is so proud of how much she has raised for a charity that has helped her so much.”

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