Chrisetta Mitchell from Stornoway lost her daughter, Leanne at the age of 21 to Cystic Fibrosis (CF) nine years ago.
Together with her husband William, she set up The Leanne Fund, to provide support to CF sufferers and their families across the Highlands and Islands, because throughout Leanne’s illness, no such support had been available to them.
Living with CF impacts daily on the lives of sufferers and their families, now for her work to help those affected by the illness Chrisetta has been recognised nationally with a British Citizen Award for Volunteering.
WORK TO ESTABLISH THE CHARITY
From 2010 to 2016, The Leanne Fund was run on a voluntary basis by Chrisetta from home, whilst she was still employed full time.
For six years Chrisetta worked in the evenings and weekends, to establish a charity she knew would benefit so many people.
She then set up a committee to help organise fundraising activities including an annual 5K run, Dusk2Dawn overnight walk, raffles and tea parties.
Not only organising these events, she also participated in all of them as well as taking on individual challenges.
This included The Magnificent Seven where she climbed seven Munros in one day and ‘500miles4Leanne’ where she and four friends walked 100 miles each non-stop.
Such was the level of hard work put in by Chrisetta and the scale of The Leanne’s Fund achievements, that in 2016 The Leanne Fund received Big Lottery funding, allowing the charity to employ a full time Development Manager.
Chrisetta is now employed by the charity and in just 18 months has been responsible for expanding the work of the charity into Aberdeen, Moray and Northern Isles, reaching a further 100 CF patients and their families.
Since 2010 over £400,000 has been raised by The Leanne Fund.
When a CF family is in need The Leanne Fund now has the resource available to contribute to the practical and financial support that is such a negative impact of the illness.
CF sufferers can spend long periods in hospital, which can be difficult for parents in employment. Having only three hospitals with the specialised facilities locally in the large geographic area of the north of Scotland, this then results in long distance travel and separation of families.
The support offered by The Leanne Fund, takes some of this pressure away in an already stressful situation.
BRITISH CITIZEN AWARDS
The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.
Chrisetta is one of 29 medalists who was honoured at a prestigious ceremony on Thursday July 5th, at the Palace of Westminster.
All BCA recipients have selflessly undertaken various activities in support of a number of worthy causes.
Each received a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medalists are also able to use the initials BCA after their name.
DEDICATING AWARD TO LEANNE AND OTHER CF SUFFERERS
Speaking about her nomination, Chrisetta said: “I really don’t need any award or recognition for what I do, just knowing the difference that the Fund makes to those we support is reward enough.
“I’m honoured to have been nominated but The Leanne Fund is only where it is because of the amazing support of my husband, family and friends and the hard work of our dedicated Board and supporters who share in our vision to make a difference for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.
I’ll be proud to accept the award on behalf of everyone who is part of The Leanne Fund and would like to dedicate it to Leanne and others affected by CF who, like her, have been taken too soon.”
REWARDING TO MEET EXCEPTIONAL INDIVIDUALS
Pat Egan, Group Executive Director of Affordable Housing for Places for People, who presented the medal said: “The British Citizen Award shines a spotlight on the tremendous work of everyday people for the benefit of their communities.
“I am always taken aback by the commitment and selflessness shown by medalists, and this year has been no exception. It’s very rewarding to meet such exceptional individuals and recognise the vital role they play in the success of communities up and down the country.”