Kate Walford was commended in the Shirley Nolan Special Recognition category at the eighth Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards, at which celebrity presenters included Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman.
‘I was pretty starstruck to hear Olivia Colman talk about little old me,’ she said.
Ms Walford, 47, who works as a PA for Collas Crill Trust, began raising money for Anthony Nolan after the charity helped find a stem cell donor for her close friend, Mark Fallaize, who died in November 2018 after contracting an infection following his stem cell transplant.
Mr Fallaize, who worked for Guernsey Post for 31 years, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in May 2016.
‘When I found out about Mark’s diagnosis, I wanted to do anything I could to help,’ she said.
‘I learnt that you must be between 16 and 30 to join the Anthony Nolan register because their research shows it’s better for patients. I thought I could help by raising money.’
Ms Walford ran the London Marathon in 2019, shortly after taking up running for the first time, raising an incredible £6,500.
This included £2,400 which former colleagues helped her raise through a Prosecco pyjama party and an afternoon tea.
She then decided to do the Great North Run in 2019, raising another £750, and signed up to the Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 with the aim of raising more money than the year before. She raised almost £6,000, bringing her total fundraising amount to more than £12,000.
Ms Walford said she was totally shocked to hear that she had been nominated for an award.
‘The charity has always been so supportive of me and I was lucky enough to be invited to their awards ceremony in 2018, where I was overwhelmed and humbled by the amazing people I met, which made me feel I wanted to do even more to help the charity,’ she said.
‘I’m sure any AN supporter would agree that we don’t do what we do for recognition, but it feels pretty special that the charity want to recognise their supporters in this way.’
Anthony Nolan chief executive Henny Braund said: ‘It is remarkable to see how many people support our work to find a match for those in need of a stem cell transplant. Without them, none of our life-saving work would be possible.
‘Kate has shown tremendous commitment to Anthony Nolan by going above and beyond in her fundraising efforts.
‘Raising over £10,000 in memory of her friend Mark is incredible, she should be very proud.’
. Miss Walford’s donation page for the 2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon is https://bit.ly/3kaaZWp.