There are so many people from the HD community who give of their time and skills to help make the work of SHA possible, by raising vital funds and increasing awareness about Huntington’s disease in their communities and beyond. We are grateful to each and every one for playing such an important part in our vision to achieve equal care for people whose lives are impacted by HD. This year’s inaugural Volunteer Awards were presented by our Patron Sarah Winckless MBE at the SHA Family Conference.
Volunteer Group of the Year: Moray Support Group
“Moray Support Group has been up and running for just 18 months – and what a difference it is making for families. Everyone is welcomed as a new friend to the regular support group meetings and, just as importantly, the social activities which include informal meet-ups over a coffee. The group is determined to make sure that no one in Moray is left to face HD alone. As if that wasn’t enough, Moray Support Group members are fierce! They don’t take no for an answer and after campaigning with the support of SHA and lobbying MPs, MSPs, health and social care officials, they have secured the appointment of the first HD specialist nurse for Moray. A fantastic achievement – and we have the feeling there is more to come from our friends in Moray!”
Young Volunteer of the Year: Bruce Wilson
“Bruce is a fantastic volunteer and fundraiser for SHA. He has taken part in the Great Wall Discovery Challenge and raised over £2500. It doesn’t stop there – Bruce has organised fundraising events such as bucket collections and pub quizzes. In addition, he has gone above and beyond by creating HD-branded merchandise including bracelets and bags to spread the word about HD and the work of SHA. Bruce is always the first to lend a helping hand, whether it’s appearing in SHA videos to share his experiences and help others, or taking extra responsibility at his local family branch by running the Hundred Up Club.”
Most Inspiring Volunteer of the Year: Marie Short MBE
“Marie is a truly inspirational mother, wife, and daughter who is committed to fundraising and raising awareness about Huntington’s disease. She shares her talents and knowledge as a trustee on the SHA Board and her input is key to driving the charity forward while ensuring that families remain at the heart of all that we do. A committed fundraiser, Marie has taken part in a trek to Nepal and the Falkirk Wheel abseil. This year, working with our fundraising team, Marie helped to launch My Zen Run, a virtual running challenge to raise funds and awareness. It has been a great success, with nearly 100 people taking part in the first year. Marie is already looking at ways to build on this success for next year’s My Zen Run. This award is great preparation for next month when Marie travels to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE in recognition of her services to volunteering.”
Fundraising Volunteer of the Year: Lauren Boag
“Lauren puts so much effort in organising charity events for this association! She has donated an amazing £14,000 – and is raising awareness amongst people who have never heard of Huntington’s disease before they met her. Lauren has a busy lifestyle with two young girls to bring up yet she still manages to organise amazing events including a ladies’ night, a dinner dance, afternoon teas and an evening with a medium. Full of energy and great ideas, Lauren is a real inspiration who makes her family, and SHA, proud.”
Volunteer of the Year: Gillian McNab
“What can we say about Gillian! If we’re looking for someone to give a talk, be interviewed by the media or jump out of a plane, we ask Gillian. And so far, Gillian has said ‘Yes’ every time. Gillian is a busy working single mum yet she still finds the energy and time to volunteer as a You, Me and HD Ambassador, going out into her community to raise awareness about Huntington’s disease and Scottish Huntington’s Association.
“Earlier this year, Gillian leapt 10,000 feet out of a plane – taking part in a skydive with her good pal Julie to raise vital fund for SHA. Maybe just as nerve-wracking, Gillian then went on to share her story with journalists, never shying away from the challenges faced by HD families or her own feelings about what’s to come.”