Two charities are set to benefit from the goodwill of NHS Western Isles staff who, despite the lockdown, are taking on an impressive (and weighty) challenge to raise funds.

Staff from the NHS Western Isles Radiology Department are raising money for two Charities: Crossroads Lewis and the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

The aim is for each member of the department to walk the equivalent of a 26 mile marathon in their lunch hour, wearing a lead apron, over the course of a month. This equates to 1408 lengths of the x-ray corridor each. Lead aprons weigh approximately eight kilograms but can vary with size.

NHS Western Isles Radiographer, Ciara Mackenzie, said: “We were inspired by the ‘2.6 challenge’ that was created after the London Marathon was cancelled. The public were encouraged to do some fundraising starting on the 26th April (day the marathon should have been), incorporating the number 2.6 or 26 into it (26 miles in a marathon).

“We remembered that some years ago a radiographer ran a marathon in a lead apron, and that is where we adapted our fundraising activity from.”

There are 14 Radiology staff members taking part in the current challenge. This includes radiographers, sonographers and admin staff; full-time, part-time, bank staff, and locums. The team’s four part-time/bank staff are in teams of two, as together their working hours make up a full time staff member.

A total of 12 marathons should be completed between the staff, by the end of May!

The two charities being supported are Crossroads Lewis and the Royal Osteoporosis Society.  NHS Western Isles Radiographer, Shuna Mighton, commented: “The Royal Osteoporosis Society has supported our Radiology department a great deal over the past six years, first in setting up our bone densitometry service and then in establishing our Fracture Liaison Service. Like many charities, their funding sources have been reduced considerably during the COVID-19 crisis so we wanted to do something to help them and repay the work they have done to support us."

Ciara added: “Crossroads are working hard in our local community during the coronavirus crisis, supporting the most vulnerable and helping to keep them safe. With the current lockdown, Crossroads are unable to do any of their usual fundraising events while still providing a crucial service with depreciated staff. We felt that supporting them at this time would benefit the community."