CHAS mascot competition will help children like Sia

Scotmid has launched a mascot competition and is encouraging children all over Scotland to take part.

The Sneddons know just how much work CHAS does to help families.

The new character will become the face – and hands, feet, horns, fur and who knows what else – of Scotmid’s charity partnership with Children’s Hospices Across Scotland, better known as CHAS.

The winning entrant will see their design brought to life. They will also receive a framed print of their character, £200 of fundraising vouchers for their school/group and a CHAS and Scotmid goody bag with exclusive mascot merchandise.

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As well as increasing awareness of the work carried out by CHAS, Scotmid aims to raise £350,000 for the charity during the 2021/2022 partnership.

Pictured at the mascot launch are (l-r) CHAS volunteer Hazel Reid, Lynne Ogg from Scotmid, John Hunter Barrie, and Jackie Campbell and Lara MacDonald from CHAS.

Shirley MacGillivray, head of community at Scotmid, said: “The mascot competition is such an exciting opportunity and we’re so excited to see the wonderful designs. We look forward to having the winning mascot by our side at charity events.”

Children should submit their entries by September 24 to [email protected] or Mascot Competition, Scotmid Coop, Hillwood House, Newbridge, EH28 8QJ.

Full details are available at scotmid.coop/charactercompetition .

For nearly 30 years, CHAS has been offering support to families of babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

Each week, three children die from an incurable condition in Scotland. There are currently more than 16,700 families across Scotland living with the constant fear and heartbreak that their child might die young.

Among them is six-year-old Clydesdale lass Sia Sneddon whose mum Sally describes as “a wild girl at heart who loves adventure”.

Born on October 27, 2014 in University Hospital Wishaw, Sally and Scott couldn’t wait to get her home to meet her older brother Silas. However, just five days after her birth, Sia became unwell and suffered terrifying seizures.

After a series of tests they were told that she had a rare neurological condition called Aicardi syndrome which causes seizures and developmental delays.

Sally said: “Her condition is quite complex; Sia isn’t able to sit up, she doesn’t have full head control and she will never walk. She also has visual impairment as her optic nerves didn’t form properly.

“The seizures are something that we’ve had to get used to as; although they are not as bad as they were when Sia was a baby, she still has them every day.”

Within a few months of diagnosis, the family were referred to Robin House and initially attended day visits.

Sally said: “For us, Robin House is associated with joy and happiness.

“CHAS makes fun happen even at a time when you maybe don’t feel like you’ve got a lot of fun in you.”

Robin House is also a place Sia’s brother, Silas (8), loves to visit. Although life in lockdown was hard for the family, the CHAS virtual hospice service was a lifeline.

Sally added: “CHAS has been amazing this year. The team’s attitude is very much ‘how can we do that’ rather than ‘we can’t do that.’ They’ve not let a global pandemic stand in their way!”

The family are looking forward to visiting Robin House once restrictions are lifted.