A care practitioner with a lifelong passion for running is summoning up all her energy to help buy a life-changing body suit for a little girl battling an incurable disease. Evelyn Dimatulac, 44, who works for the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham was spurred into action by the desperate plight of three year old Nova Martin-Roxburgh.
She will be running running 50 laps of the entire 12-acre site - which equates to a distance just short of a full marathon - on a date yet to be decided in October. All the sponsorship money she raises from the feat will be donated to the Help Nova to Walk charity appeal which has been set up to buy three specialist supportive body suits to help the three year old to walk as she grows older.
Nova has a rare congenital disorder caused by a chromosome deletion which means she has impaired vision and speech, she cannot walk properly and is at serious risk of life-threatening seizures. It is such a rare condition that her medical team cannot tell what Nova's life expectancy is. The family have set up an online fundraising page for people to donate to their appeal at: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-nova-to-walk
They have set a target of £4,000 which will pay for all three suits. Nova lives in Liverpool with her family including her mum Samantha Martin-Roxburgh, 28, and step-dad Stephen Belli, also 28, who is originally from Mold. Stephen's mum, Julie Belli, also from Mold, is friends with Ann Chapman, manager of Pendine's Bodlondeb care home where Evelyn works.
Ann baked a spectacular pink dragon cake that's being raffled to raise money for the appeal. The raffle has raised nearly £700 and the Pendine Arts and Community Trust, set up by Pendine to support cultural and community causes, has donated £250. Ann said: "As soon as Julie told me about Nova I wanted to do something to help and when I relayed her story to our care team they all got behind the Help Nova to Walk appeal too. The most important thing is to get the money so the family can buy these crucial body suits which are not available on the NHS."
"At first I suggested to Evelyn that she run five times around the Pendine Park site, but she said no she wanted to do more. She insisted on doing an amazing 50 laps. I was staggered and overjoyed at the same time. But I know Evelyn has the ability to do it. She runs everywhere and has loved running all her life.
"It is a wonderful gesture, and it is such an appropriate challenge to do a run to help an adorable little girl be able to walk."
Evelyn said she was hugely touched on meeting Nova and her family when they visited Bodlondeb to pick up Ann's raffle cake. She said: "She's such a beautiful little girl with so many big struggles ahead of her that I immediately wanted to help. It's my vocation to help others, that's why I so love my job as a carer here at Bodlondeb."
Evelyn added: "I have not measured it exactly but it is a little short of the 26. I have done marathons before so I know I am capable of completing that distance. Running has always been my favourite recreational activity even as a young girl. I like the freedom and the thinking time it gives me."
She completed her first marathon in the capital city of Madrid when she and her husband were living in Spain. She went on to do further marathons in Barcelona and Valencia. Then after she and her family moved to Wrexham, she took on a double header in 2017 in aid of Unicef's East Africa appeal. She raised £250 after completing 30 laps of the Pendine site one day, followed by the Liverpool half marathon the next day. She said: "I expect this run will take a little longer than the 30 laps I did then as I am a few years older now, but I hope to do it in two to two and a half hours." Anybody wanting to make a donation can do so online at https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-nova-to-walk