21st February 2018
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Family scale Ben Nevis to help James, six

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Family members of six-year-old James Hawick who has a rare blood disorder, have scaled Ben Nevis to help find a bone marrow donor and raise funds for Anthony Nolan.

Ingrid and Andrew Hawick were among those who completed the challenge last Saturday in a bid to help James, who is need of a bone marrow transplant.

He has a condition called aplastic anaemia – which means his body does not make enough new blood cells because the bone marrow’s stem cells are damaged.

His family are calling on people in Shetland and further afield to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register – to find a match for James and others in need of a transplant too.

James’ uncle, Craig Smaaskjaer, decided to climb Ben Nevis seven times in seven days to raise money for the UK blood cancer charity, and encourage people to come forward.

A 7in7 For James Facebook page has been set up – with nearly 2,000 likes – and more than £12,000 has been raised through Craig’s Just Giving page.

Craig said it cost Anthony Nolan £100 each time a person registered, and has been posting photos of his challenge on the social media site this week to keep people updated.

Since launching the campaign the family has received a huge response – with hundreds of folk in the isles signing up to the register and people in Aberdeen, where Craig lives, showing their support too.

A pop-up charity shop has also been held in Lerwick and fund-raising has ranged from a charity head shave to selling home bakes and a charity walk.

Last week Craig said about 400 people had registered with Anthony Nolan – which registers those aged 16 to 30.

People over the age of 30 can still sign up to be donors at www.deletebloodcancer.org or www.bmdw.org.

About 600 people have registered to be donors since the start of the campaign.

Andrew said stairs were “a little bit uncomfortable” following the walk at the weekend, but support from everyone in Shetland for the campaign was “very humbling”.

He said: “The worst thing about this whole thing is you feel so hopeless. You feel powerless to do anything and you’re waiting for a donor to turn up.”

Andrew said he felt he could help by supporting the campaign and encouraging people to register.

“It was a nice moment” reaching the top, he added, and an emotional experience.

Ingrid said: “It’s just feeling like you’re trying to do something and raise awareness.

“Shetland people are simply quite incredible. The support and how much they care, you can get upset just thinking about it. It makes you feel emotional knowing how much they care.”

This weekend a series of donor recruitment events are being held – with representatives from Anthony Nolan visiting Shetland.

People between 16 and 30 are invited to come along.

They should be in good health, weigh over 7st 12lb and have a BMI lower than 40.

A straightforward saliva test will be taken and people will be added to the register.

Those having a saliva test should not eat, drink, smoke or chew chewing gum half an hour before the test.

The recruitment days will be tomorrow and Sunday: tomorrow at Clickimin from 11am to 3pm; Sunday at Cunningsburgh Hall from 11am to 3pm and Brae Hall from noon to 4pm.

Sunday teas will be held in Brae Hall from 1pm to 4pm and soup and bannocks will be at Cunningsburgh from noon to 3pm.

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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