A 13-year-old pupil from Auchmuty High School in Glenrothes has been named Scottish Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year.
Aidan McCallum, who has raised more than £9,000 for the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA), picked up the award at the Institute of Fundraising Scotland awards in Glasgow. Aidan, whose dad has Huntington’s disease (HD), said he was motivated to fundraise by the excellent support that the charity has provided to his family.
He has raised the money through a series of events from sponsored walks to race nights. However, the budding artist also impressed the awards judges by auctioning off his own work to raise money for charity. One piece was sold for £2,500, that on that occasion went to respite centre Leuchie House.
“I’m amazed to win this award,” said Aidan after picking up his accolade. “I feel like all my hard work has been recognised. My dad is affected by Huntington’s disease and the Scottish Huntington’s Association is such an amazing charity that doesn’t get a lot of notice but is so deserving.
“The sense of accomplishment I get from fundraising is fantastic. To see that my money is making a difference means so much.”
The Scottish Huntington’s Association is the only charity in the country that supports families living with HD.
It is a hereditary progressive condition that causes changes to muscle control, thinking processes and may cause long-term mental health issues. The average age of onset is between 33 and 45 – there is currently no cure for HD. Those living with the condition will require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages. Each child of someone diagnosed with HD is at 50% risk of developing the condition themselves.
Prevalence of Huntington’s disease generally has increased threefold in the last twenty years. There are estimated to be 1,100 people in Scotland living with the condition but as many as 5,000 could be potentially at risk.
The charity provides lifeline services, including HD Clinical specialists and the world’s only HD youth support service and Wellbeing volunteer service.
Chief Executive of SHA, John Eden said:
“This is a fantastic achievement by Aidan. We rely so much on the commitment of our fundraisers to deliver the lifeline services that people like his dad need so badly. Without people like Aidan our job would be much harder. The fact that he has achieved so much at such a young age is outstanding and we look forward to working with him for many years to come.”