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Abertay's Commonwealth Games Batonbearers!

26 June 2014

The Queen's Baton Relay - which began its 100,000 mile journey around the Commonwealth on October 9 last year – gets to Dundee today (Friday, June 27)!

Those who have carried the baton on its worldwide journey have all been nominated for remarkable reasons, and we have 10 extraordinary individuals here at Abertay who will be getting involved.

Yesterday, Abertay student Rhys Davis took part in the Inverkeithing leg, and today we have three more people from Abertay taking part: student Kezia McCabe; Andrea Cameron, who is Head of the School of Social and Health Sciences; and our Sports Development Officer Dr Ali Bell, who is also part of Scotland’s Commonwealth Games hockey team.

First up is Kezia, who has been studying for her BSc in Sport and Psychology here at Abertay and will be graduating in November.

She was nominated for her outstanding work as a volunteer.

One example of her voluntary work has been with a football and mental health project run by NHS Tayside.

Her role in ‘The Friend Project’, was to befriend someone who was lonely and isolated, to help get them out of the house and out of their shell. She explains the impact this has had on her:

"I really enjoyed taking part in the project. It’s such a hard thing for someone to be able to trust and fully open up to someone never mind to a person they have just met and so you can maybe imagine how quiet the first few meetings were.

"But when you see someone grow from being so shut off, a person who hasn't had the easiest life or upbringing, to then spilling their story to you and making a true effort to call and stay in touch - not just because they have to but because they want to - is just a very heartwarming, not to mention rewarding, thing to see.

"I just think it's so important to try to give back sometimes and to listen to other people's stories because we take a lot of things for granted sometimes and if I'm going through what might seem as the hardest and most stressful time in the world, I can look back on these experiences and remind myself that there are so many people out there far less fortunate and going through far worse than I am, and when you start to think like that it will inspire you to do great things."

She also helped - and continues to do so - with football therapy sessions every week, which are run by a small physiotherapy team in the Carseview Centre at Ninewells Hospital for those struggling with mental health issues.

As a big football fan, this appealed to Kezia straight away, but turned out to be something that she got much more out of than she initially expected.

She explains:

"At first I got involved to get some more work experience, but I also wanted to try something a little bit different to what I'm used to and perhaps a little out of my comfort zone, so when I saw that they were looking for help I knew immediately I had to get involved and it just sounded very interesting.

"And I’m so happy that I did because, although I came looking for work, it's not something I would see as work now - it's really more like a hobby."

Kezia still has no idea who nominated her to be a baton bearer, and says it came as quite a shock when she got the email telling her she’d be taking part:

"I had to check that the email was legit because at first I thought it was just spam and I almost missed it entirely. I was quite overwhelmed when I found out it was for real and that I really was going to be a batonbearer! The good news came at a time when I probably needed it the most too, because I was going through a pretty hard time that day as I had just received some bad news about my uncle, so it really did put a gigantic smile on my face and I'm absolutely thrilled and honoured to be able to do it."

As someone who loves sport and gives up her free time to help others, it is wonderful to see Kezia receiving recognition for this as one of Dundee’s batonbearers.

She will be running along South Victoria Dock from Chandlers Lane to the Tay Road Bridge admin office on Friday, and has an early start at 8.52am - but don’t let that put you off cheering her on! 

Andrea will be running along Blackness Road at 10.32am, and finally Ali will be running at 6.38pm as the baton makes its way to City Square for the celebrations which begin at 6.45pm!

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