River City actress' skydiving daughter prepares for a leap of faith

RIVER CITY actress Eileen McCallum has always aimed high to help sufferers of muscular dystrophy.

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Eileen McCallum's daughter Sarah will be skydiving for charity
Eileen McCallum's daughter Sarah will be skydiving for charity

But this time it's her daughter Sarah who will be hitting the heights with a spectacular skydive next month.

Eileen, a former Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year, is patron of the Eileen McCallum Trust, a voluntary organisation set up by families to provide support for those affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

This progressive muscle-wasting disease affects her own grandsons, Daniel, 11 and 15-year-old Milo.

Eileen works tirelessly to raise funds for the charity but on this occasion, she will be keeping her feet firmly on the ground as Sarah takes to the air.

Eileen who plays matriarch Liz Hamilton in the BBC Scotland soap, said: "I'm full of admiration for her - to attempt a skydive is something special.

"We'll be there to cheer her on."

Sarah admits she feels "very nervous" about the jump, but is hoping to raise thousands of pounds if she can conquer her fears.

The 46-year-old make-up artist said: "I've never done anything like this but I have always had a strange fascination for parachutes.

"My dad was in the army, so maybe it stems from that."

Sarah was inspired by a group of Daniel's friends, who raised £2000 by having their heads shaved.

She said: "They have set the bar pretty high

"It was a fantastic gesture by the boys - Charlie, Ollie, Sam, Nathan and Louis - and if I can equal what they raised, I'll be more than happy."

About 10 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy are born in Scotland each year.

It causes their muscles to swell and joints to become restricted.

The simplest of tasks, such as holding a fork or turning over in bed, become very difficult and in the latter stages, heart and breathing muscles begin to fail.

Historically, most boys with Duchenne have not survived their teens and so far, there is no cure.

However, Daniel is taking part in trials of a drug being developed in the US.

Ataluren works by producing a protein essential to muscle strength.

Sarah said: "It's great that he is taking part in the trial and we're keeping a close eye on developments."

To support Sarah in her skydive, you can donate through the Eileen McCallum Trust website (www.eileenmccallumtrust.org) or through Sarah Fidelo's fundraising page at Virgin Money (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com)

ann.fotheringham@eveningtimes.co.uk

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