An Aberdeen dance teacher battling breast cancer will have her wish granted by ballet stars.
Jemma McRae, owner of Academy Street Dance Studio, is currently undergoing intensive chemotherapy to treat the disease.
After spotting a Scottish Ballet campaign to make five people’s wishes come true, the 43-year-old decided to make the special request.
But Jemma, who was first diagnosed in 2014, did not request the wish for herself – she wants to give back to her students as a special thank-you for their support.
Now, thanks to a public vote and a judging panel featuring the likes of Strictly stars Dame Darcey Bussell and Susan Calman, Jemma’s school will work with the Scottish Ballet company to create a special performance that will coincide with the show Spring! which opens in Aberdeen in April.
After finding out her wish would come true, Jemma said: “I was absolutely elated.
“I had to keep the secret as far back as December and that was difficult around my eight-year-old daughter.
“I first told my sister and my parents, who I’m quite close to, and they were absolutely delighted to hear.
“My first wish would be for a cure for cancer, but that’s not possible right now – so I’m hoping to give back to the students and parents who have supported me.
“When I saw the Scottish Ballet campaign, I thought it would be a lovely idea to give something back to my students.”
On January 17, dancers Christopher Harrison and Araminta Wraith from the company surprised Jemma and her students, and revealed the amazing experience that awaits.
Jemma was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and, 14 months after her initial diagnosis, her condition developed into secondary breast cancer.
She said: “The wish is a way of thanking not only my pupils, but also their parents and everyone who has supported me through my illness.
“I’m touched and I know by seeing the looks on the children’s faces after the surprise what it’s going to mean to them as well.
“I’m so excited, it’s going to be an absolutely amazing experience and it’s something for my students to look forward to.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
CEO and artistic director of Scottish Ballet Christopher Hampson said the judging panel were “overwhelmed” by the number of submissions made to the campaign, which comes as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
He added: “But after careful deliberation, we have chosen a mix of creative and heartfelt wishes, influenced by the inspiring stories behind them.
“We are excited to welcome these people into our Scottish Ballet family and thank them for the support of the company.”