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20 For 20 Anchors!

So when all was said and done, the 20 For 20 Anchors raised a whopping £349,000 for Friends of Anchor. I've been lucky to see a bit behind the scenes of the project thanks to my partner Mary Butterworth who helped bring some of the artists on board. Knowing the huge amount of effort that goes into these projects I was a bit worried as she spends so much time helping others and often neglecting her own needs. The charity is one close to Mary and her family, I'm sure many of us have been effected by Cancer and the Anchor unit always plays a big part in helping to navigate the path to treatment and recovery and I think for everyone involved it became personal, bringing up a range of emotions and experiences, on top of having paint a solid 5 foot tall anchor!

Being a Heamophiliac I've often been up to unit to get treatment for a sprained ankle or injury, usually sat in a comfy seat next to people getting their chemo and every time I walk out I feel lucky but also inspired by the strength and resilience shown by my fellow patients. But despite being in such close quarters I didn't quite realise exactly what Anchor do. Through their fundraising efforts they help to provide equipment and resources which the NHS couldn't afford to help those facing that challenging road. Along with the big expenses they also provide smaller comforts, fresh fruit for the patients, free hot drinks and meals, hair cuts and pedicures. These things might sound small but when you're stuck sitting in a chair for 3 hours being pumped full of chemo the small things can be the biggest comfort. 

Anchor decided with their 20th year it was time to up the stakes a little and set out with a new goal in mind, to raise 1 million pounds to help establish a world leading cancer research team at Aberdeen University with the ultimate goal of eradicating the big C. The painted anchors were designed and manufactured before being handed over to the artists to paint. Once finished they were sent out to sites all over Scotland, from Orkney & Shetland to Elgin and Stonehaven, basically every area the Anchor Unit works in. With a wide variety of designs people flocked from all over to get a closer look at the designs with a few opting for a selfie or two. Marys anchor was sent to Stonehaven while Katie Guthries made its way up to Orkney and of course the ginger beard by Ugly People added some fun to The Green. It might seem strange to use the word fun but when my nephew spotted the 3 eyed design he couldn't help getting excited. And its important to laugh and find some joy, even during the dark times. I think some of the anchors also served as a place to visit and think about loved ones, a personal monument to our lost friends and a chance to reflect.

I'm sure we all wish we could live in a world where Cancer doesn't exist but I take great pride in knowing there's people in Aberdeen who are trying to make that a reality and I'm incredibly proud of Mary and all the artists who contributed to the project. A short film about the charity by its founder Jim Milne really brought the message home and showed what can be done with a lot of hard work and determination. As we stood in the Chester Hotel and watched the great and good of Aberdeen put their bids in it all became a little overwhelming. But its good to have a cry and to come up again knowing that you've made a difference. I can't say how proud I am of Mary for what she and all involved have achieved with the project and although this part is now done there's still a long road ahead for many and the Friends of Anchor will be there for every step. 

I'd just like to say a massive well done to everyone involved both on the front line and behind the scenes. You can donate to the Friends of Anchor cause here and always be thankful for the good people you have around you.

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