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Speaker Biography

Olivia Giles

Olivia Giles, Founder, 500 Miles Charity

Olivia Giles was born 1965 and graduated in law from Glasgow University. Until 2002 she was a property partner with Scottish law firm, Maclay Murray & Spens. That year she contracted the blood poisoning form of meningitis as a result of which both of her lower legs and both of her lower arms had to be amputated. After months of rehabilitation she made a full recovery and is mobile on prosthetic legs.

Olivia has since been involved in a range of activities. She has written for national newspapers and has experience of presenting on radio (The Day I Didn’t Die for BBC Radio) and television (Resolutions for BBC TV). She has also given talks on a variety of subjects but mainly motivational and about patient centred care in medicine, nursing and the allied health professions.

Olivia supports the Meningitis Trust and is on the board of the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics and on the Education Committee of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics. She has also been involved in the Scottish Government’s recent policy documents for the future direction of nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions. In particular she is chairing the steering group for the development and implementation of the Framework for Adult Rehabilitation in Scotland.

In 2007 Olivia founded a new Scottish charity called “500 miles”. Its main purpose is the support of amputees and other disabled people in Malawi and Zambia. Olivia runs 500 miles and this takes up most of her time now.