A TULLIBODY mum followed in her daughter’s tracks when she tackled her first triathlon to raise funds for specialist charity Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland).

Kirstie Dawson, 45, took on the Stirling Super Sprint on Sunday, June 3, a gruelling test of endurance that requires competitors to swim 400m, cycle 17km and then run for 3km.

She was aiming to raise £1000 for the charity, having taken her motivation for on the challenge from her daughter Meggan.

The 25-year-old was born with spina bifida, a fault in the spinal column where vertebrae do not form completely.

She also has hydrocephalus – a condition where increased pressure on the brain can cause social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural difficulties – but that hasn’t deterred her from fulfilling her sporting ambitions.

The wheelchair racer competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and at one point held Scottish national records over eight separate distances.

She had been in training for this year’s London Marathon when she picked up pressure sores and is now taking time out to recover before taking on her next challenge.

However, her mum Kirstie stepped in to ensure Meggan's own fundraising intentions would not be in vain.

She said: “Meggan was upset when she realised she wouldn’t be able to take part in the marathon as she had hoped to raise funds for SBH Scotland so I decided to take up the mantle.

“My friends persuaded me to sign up for my first triathlon so I’ve been hard in training for that.

“Meggan has been laughing at me looking totally exhausted as it’s usually the other way around.”

Training for the triathlon has made Kirstie even more proud of Meggan who has undergone more than 10 operations to insert shunts which reduce swelling on the brain, and repeat bowel surgery, without ever complaining.

Kirstie added: “I’ve never met anyone so resilient and upbeat despite everything she’s been through.

“She jokes about the fact the operation scars on her tummy are in the shape of a giraffe.

“She’s a true inspiration and always looking to help others. She recently had all her hair chopped off so she could donate it to a charity that helps children who have lost their hair because of leukaemia and that’s just typical of her.”

SBH Scotland are in the process of creating a children’s book about Meggan to inspire other children with disabilities to never give up and not be afraid to try new things.

Her mum added: “The hardest thing for Meggan when she was growing up was that there weren’t many other kids with disabilities in our area.

“Then she was a teenager she went to a sports camp and got to meet kids like her who didn’t want their condition to define them.

“Hopefully this book will let other children with spina bifida or hydrocephalus realise they are not alone and that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.”

Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, added: “Meggan’s story is truly inspirational and it’s great to see mum Kirstie getting involved now, too, in her own athletic endeavours.

“As a charity, we rely solely on the efforts of our supporters and because of people like Meggan and Kirstie we are able to offer a range of services from weekly support groups to tailored activities for children and young people and advice for families affected by the conditions."

There is still time to support Kirstie’s fundraising efforts by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising//kirstie-dawson1 and making a donation.

More information on the services offered by SBH Scotland is available at sbhscotland.org.uk