Tributes have been pouring in to a Buchan family, following the death of their ‘inspirational’ teenage daughter.
Catherine Melrose (17), slipped away peacefully at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Sunday, June 29, surrounded by family and friends, just 11 days after doctors told them there were no more treatment options available.
In a poignant Facebook message, Catherine’s mum Sam, who owns Buchanhaven Pharmacy in Peterhead, posted: “Totally heartbroken to let everyone know that Catherine slipped away more peacefully than any of us could possibly have imagined at 4 o’clock this afternoon. She was surrounded her family and friends.”
Within minutes of her post, Sam and Catherine’s Facebook pages were flooded with messages of condolence, many praising Catherine’s bravery throughout her illness.
One wrote: “A beautiful and inspirational young lady has been taken far too soon. You are a truly inspirational family, your bravery, determination and strength is truly admirable. Catherine will be the brightest star in the sky.”
Another posted: “ Her story has been totally inspirational and I totally admire what she, her mum Sam, family and friends have achieved, fought and overcame, not only on behalf of themselves, but for the likes of Anthony Nolan, whom they have raised several tens of thousands of pounds for.”
Since being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in January last year, Catherine, and her family remained positive and focused their attentions on raising money for Anthony Nolan, as well as encouraging folk to sign up as donors.
They received an overwhelming response after their appeal and at two donor days in April last year they signed up 57 new donors from Robert Gordon University and 117 from Banff and Buchan College in Fraserburgh, while in only a three-month period they had raised £10,000 for Anthony Nolan and a further £3,000 for Macmillan Nurses.
Two of Catherine’s friends have already donated cells and many more have been called for further testing.
A justgiving page set up by Catherine in aid of the charity added further to the fundraising total, with almost £60,000 having been raised to-date with donations still continuing to pour in following her death.
On Tuesday, Sam posted on Facebook that her sister had signed up as a volunteer with Anthony Nolan following Catherine’s diagnosis, stating: “Today she is with her first school speaking with a group of 16 and 17 year-olds hoping to encourage them to register as potential donors.
“Not quite sure if she’ll hold it together, but am so very proud of her.”
In the past week more than £1,000 has been donated to the justgiving page while around £6,000 has been raised following a successful concert and charity bike ride, with Sam adding: “Thank you so very much from us all for the amazing amount of donations made to Catherine’s Just Giving over the last few days since we lost her.
“I know she would be delighted to see her total growing like this - currently we have over £58,000 raised which is the most wonderful legacy she could ever have.
“We promised her we would continue to fundraise and it’s a promise we will definitely keep. Thank you all again.”
A celebration of Catherine’s life will take place at 4pm on Thurday, July 10 at the Almanythie Hall, Windmill Road, Peterhead.
Then it will go out to Buchan Braes at Boddam where, at Catherine’s request, those celebrations will continue for as long as everyone wishes to stay.
She will be cremated in Buckie on Saturday at 10.30am and all who wish to join the family will be very welcome.
Catherine has asked that those attending wear something red to both services.
Sam added: “She would like us to continue to fundraise for Anthony Nolan who gave her a second chance at life. We shall have a collection on departure in lieu of flowers.”
Should anyone wish to donate to Anthony Nolan, they can do so via the justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/samantha-melrose