A generous stranger left a Meltham mum and her daughter weeping tears of joy at the supermarket checkout.
Anja Etty, 41, who has multiple sclerosis, is trying to raise £54,000 to travel to Mexico for a “miracle” treatment that could stop the debilitating disease in its tracks.
Since her story appeared in the Examiner 10 days ago (Nov 7), around £6,000 has been donated via her website www.inyourfacems.com to bring the total raised so far to £37,000.
But Anja was lost for words by her latest donation – when a stranger handed her a “substantial” sum of money at the checkout in Morrisons at Meltham.
Said Anja: “I was in Morrisons with my eldest daughter Taia, who was just packing up the shopping when a lady came up and asked if I was the lady who had been in the Examiner. I was a bit embarrassed, but I said yes. She said she had to put her shopping in the car, but asked me to wait. She came back and put a large amount of money in my hand and wished me good luck.
“I was so shocked and embarrassed I didn’t get any details from her. Me and my daughter were both in tears and hugging each other. It was so lovely.
“It’s easy to be cynical about things, but this was incredibly kind and generous.”
Anja said she did not want to say exactly how much the woman gave her, but added: “It was a moment in time. We were just about to leave the supermarket. A few minutes later and we would not have met her.”
Anja, who also has another daughter, Tolly, was diagnosed with MS in 1999.
She now uses a wheelchair, can only walk very short distances with the aid of crutches and has days when she gets confused and fatigued.
The former sales manager is fundraising for a trip next January to a clinic in Puebla, Mexico, where she will take a 28-day course of treatment called Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT).
The treatment aims to “reset” the immune system by taking stem cells from the patient’s blood and re-introducing them into the patient’s bloodstream following a course of chemotherapy to “clear out” the existing immune system.
The treatment is available on the NHS at two London hospitals – but only for people who have had MS for less than 15 years, which means Anja is ineligible.
The family began fundraising in April with a pamper party and has held several events since then.
Anja is raising funds with a sale of art on eBay which has already raised hundreds of pounds in sales of work by both professional and amateur artists.
Anja’s brother Marcus, who lives in Ghana, has also chipped in to the fundraising effort by raising £3,000 with an auction.