Fyrish winter walk woman hailed a hero; challenge was poignant tribute to brother; Anthony Nolan Trust says Alness woman has 'funded fifty lifesavers'; leukaemia awareness-raiser makes huge impact
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A ROSS-SHIRE woman who lost her brother to blood cancer when he was just nine was yesterday hailed a Highland hero for a poignant tribute which could prevent someone else suffering the same heartache.
When Freya Anderson (21) set herself the target of climbing up Easter Ross landmark Fyrish every single day for the month last February, it was the thought of her "best friend", brother Callumn, which kept her going, often alone in the winter darkness in sub-zero temperatures.
Named fundraiser of the year in the Highland Hero awards run by the Ross-shire Journal's parent company, Freya was also this wee hailed by the charity she backed for funding FIFTY potential lifesavers.
The Anthony Nolan Trust maintains a register of stem cell donors in a bid to find the perfect match for thousands of people in need of the lifesaving gift.
Sadly Callumn died in 2005 from blood cancer because there was no bone marrow transplant match to support him in his fight against leukaemia. His plight though touched thousands of people and resulted in hundreds signing up for the register – a process which costs the charity £40 per person.
The Trust's senior community fundraising manager Beatrix Passmore hailed Ms Anderson's effort "truly inspirational". She said: "Her actions were not only a touching tribute to her brother, but by fundraising in aid of Anthony Nolan she has given hope to other people in a similar position to Callumn.It costs £40 to recruit each person onto the Anthony Nolan register and Freya has funded fifty potential lifesavers!"
Modest Ms Anderson, who lives in Alness, was humbled by an award she hadn't expected and dedicated it to everyone who supported her.
After inspiring pledges of £2700, she said: "I can’t express enough how important it is to me to encourage anyone who can to join the Anthony Nolan register. That is what this is all about – helping other families to never have to go through the pain of losing someone special to them." She said it has been "an experience I will never forget and I’m so glad to have done it."
Her father, also Calumn, said: "I couldn’t be more proud of what Freya achieved. She didn’t do this for any recognition but to raise money and awareness for the Anthony Nolan Trust in order to save lives as well as in memory of her brother. Her achievement clearly touched the hearts of so many people and as her dad I was both deeply moved and proud when she was nominated and then again as her name was read out as the winner of the award as voted for by the public. I should also add that Freya was very humbled in receiving the award as she didn’t think for a second that she would win but she certainly is a Highland hero."
Ms Passmore said fundraising is a vital part of the Trust's lifesaving work. She said: "The more money we raise, the more potential donors we can recruit onto the stem cell register, giving people in desperate need a second chance of life. Please help us save more lives by visiting anthonynolan.org"