Despite currently being £6,500 short of target, Isla’s treatment is booked for the autumn as industry comes together to “give a cone a cuddle”.

The two-year-old granddaughter of LCRIG Chair and industry veteran Martin Duffy will fly to the US for potentially life-changing treatment this autumn thanks to her grandfather’s cycling skills and the fundraising efforts of the highways and transport technology industries.

Isla was born with cerebral palsy and cannot sit independently, crawl or walk.  However Stem Cell treatment is available in the USA and the clinical trials have showed positive results. Isla is a match with the stem cells taken from her baby brother, Leo, and has been accepted for treatment by the global leader in this field of research, Dr Joanne Kurtzberg.

Enough money has been raised to book the treatment thanks to Martin Duffy undertaking a 100-mile sponsored cycle ride, along with an innovative fundraiser led by independent highways sector consultant Neil Levett.

Levett devised a programme where supporting companies would donate £500 each and in exchange receive a cuddly road cone which they will display on their stands at the major Highways UK event at Birmingham’s NEC in October.  The event organiser, Terrapin, has also committed to publish an “Isla’s Trail” of contributing companies who are exhibiting.

The supporting companies also have their logo displayed prominently on the fundraising webpage ( ) and are entitled to display their support for the fundraising efforts using the exclusive, specially designed logo, too.

So far the initiative is only £6,500 from the original target of £25,000 and companies who have sponsored so far include LCRIG, Kiely Group, Associated Asphalt, CLM, Clearway, Messagemaker Displays, Rennicks, Solar Gates UK, Roadmender, RSTA, Westcotec, WJ Group. Asphalt Group Ltd, Henry Williams and Son, Thermal Road Repairs and Highway Care.

Each company has received a cone, including Lauren Kiely of Kiely Bros , who is pictured giving her cone its first cuddle, while Highway Care has asked for help giving it a name.  Staff at Rennicks were proud to cuddle their cone at the LCRIG Innovation Festival, while Westcotec and RSTA and Terrapin have posed too.

In an industry-first move, all the sector’s key media brands have got together and put their competitive trials and tribulations to one side to collaborate in promoting Isla’s cause, and have launched a website – where other companies can donate and claim their cuddly cone.

The objective is that, Highways Magazine,, Traffex and Highways UK will jointly promote Martin’s fundraising, and give updates on how Isla is progressing with her treatment, once it starts.

So with only £6,500 left to raise, with tangible benefits for all companies who support the charity with bone fide marketing deliverables, too – why would you not want to get involved and give a cone a cuddle?

“Not only will you be supporting a very special young lady on her journey to a better life, but you will also get valuable PR, too,” Mr Levett concluded.  Please consider joining the founding supporters of the website and let’s do something really worthwhile as an industry.  If all the media competitors can come together for something, then it has to be worthwhile!”

(Picture – Kiely Bros/Lauren Kiely LinkedIn)


Related Stories


All the latest highways news direct to your inbox every week day

Subscribe now