Cat Neill, Handelsbanken District Mortgage Adviser, shared her heartfelt story of resilience, teamwork, and the incredible support she has received from her colleagues, after her plans to participate in the Great North Run to fundraise for autism and neurodiversity charity Daisy Chain were ruined.

Cat previously participated in the Great North Run, vowing never to do it again, but when her best friend’s son was diagnosed with autism and struggled to find support so desperately needed, she reconsidered. Daisy Chain’s unwavering dedication to support and empower the autistic and neurodivergent community has meant that Cat’s friend and her son’s needs were finally met. Cat said she “could not ignore the transformative impact of Daisy Chain’s support” on her friend and her son’s life, or how Daisy Chain “was the only one she could rely on, filling the gaps left by other services.” 

By running for Daisy Chain, Cat hoped “to raise money to better support the incredible charitable work Daisy Chain does”. By committing to the challenge, Cat planned to ensure that “other families in the region would not face the same hurdles that (her) friend and son did”. To her horror, Cat suffered major injuries in an accident, which left her unable to participate in the run. The frustration of losing her independence was immense, but Cat’s spirit remains unbroken. 

Cat’s colleagues have demonstrated remarkable solidarity in supporting her and have picked up the mantle of fundraising in her stead. The team will be undertaking the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge to raise funds for Daisy Chain. This initiative was more than a fundraising effort; it was a testament to their commitment to Cat and the indispensable cause she championed.

Cat expressed that her “journey has truly shown me the importance of being surrounded by supportive individuals, and I am immensely grateful for my colleagues’ efforts in ensuring I can achieve my fundraising goal for Daisy Chain. Their collective action has not only raised substantial funds that will change the lives of neurodivergent families, but also exemplifies the power of coming together for a common cause.”

Cat explained that despite her setbacks, she “remains hopeful and firmly believes in the power of resilience and teamwork. I hope my story inspires others to remain grateful, seek support, and contribute positively to their communities. As my colleagues gear up for the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, I will continue my recovery, looking forward to the day I can join them in future endeavours. Even in our toughest moments, the strength of those around us can lift us up and carry us forward. Together, we can achieve extraordinary things.”

Daisy Chain are absolutely delighted that Handelsbanken are supporting Cat and our charity, refusing to let the accident prevent the raising of essential funds to deliver our support services. We wish Cat a speedy recovery and thank everyone at Handelsbanken.

If you would like to support Cat’s cause, follow this link to donate via the JustGiving page and champion the incredible team at Handelsbanken, and the wider community, on their challenge on July 6th.

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