A north-east woman hopes to bring her charity fundraising total to £20,000 next year.
Lauren Boag, from Insch, began organising events to raise money for Scottish Huntington’s Association after tests showed her positive for carrying the gene.
The 33-year-old was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in 2015, a hereditary condition where symptoms usually begin between the ages of 30 and 50, and involves depression, memory loss and eventually leads to the loss of all motor functions.
Lauren, who lives with husband Craig and their daughters Eva, 4, and Sienna, 1, has held eight events so far, and has raised £13,760 in the past 18 months.
She hopes to continue this into next year, to raise awareness of the condition, and to donate to the charity so that it can continue to support people.
Lauren said: “I always knew I could have it, as it runs in my family. I could have been tested at 18 but I wanted to live my life not knowing.
“I decided to start the process and it’s months of counselling and tests, and I found out around the same time I was pregnant.
“It was a difficult time and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, so I kind of took a step away from it.
“I decided to do some fundraising, in the form of the Kiltwalk when I was pregnant with my second daughter, and I didn’t realise how close it was to my due date.
“I took the news that I had the gene pretty hard and it took some time to get my head around the diagnosis.
“But once I was over the initial shock, I wanted to start doing something positive with my time and I have started fundraising for the Scottish Huntington’s Association.
“I really wanted to set a positive example to my two daughters. I want to make them proud and perhaps one day they will follow suit.”
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Since her first fundraising event, she’s gone on to hold four ladies’ nights, and three dinner dances.
She’s also signed up to take on her third Kiltwalk next year, as well as the Highland Fling Bridge Swing in February.
It’s hoped that in 2020, this total will be brought up to £20,000.
Lauren said: “I was on maternity leave so I just thought to myself that I’m going to do more, so I organised a mini photoshoot event for kids and a bigger dinner dance.
“I’ve kind of started to lose count of what I’ve done.
“I don’t really use the charity myself, but I wanted to support it because it runs in my family, and they’ve helped my family before.
“They help with difficult things and do visits at home.
“They do a lot for everyone affected by Huntington’s Disease, and they do a lot of research.
“For the first time, I think a lot of people are a lot more hopeful, and have more courage.”
Lauren was also presented with a fundraising volunteer of the year award from Scottish Huntington’s Association at its 30th anniversary family conference.
Presenting the award to Lauren, Sarah Winckless MBE, patron of the charity, said: “Lauren puts so much effort into organising charity events for Scottish Huntington’s Association.
“She has raised an amazing £14,000 – and is increasing awareness among people who had never heard of Huntington’s disease before they met Lauren.
“She has a busy lifestyle with two young girls to bring up, yet Lauren 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 Scottish Huntington’s Association, proud.”
Lauren added: “It was quite emotional.”
For more information on Lauren’s upcoming events, and to book tickets, visit www.facebook.com/lbeventsaberdeen