By Edd Dracott, PA
A Scottish mother facing soaring energy bills due to the cost of running her daughter’s life support has received a £17,000 (€19,400) donation from Kate Winslet.
Carolynne Hunter’s 12-year-old daughter Freya, the youngest of four children, has severe complex health problems and disabilities, is non-verbal and blind and requires full-time oxygen and at-home nursing care.
Ms Hunter, 49, from Tillicoultry, Scotland, launched a GoFundMe fundraiser earlier this week to help her pay the soaring running costs of the equipment that keeps Freya alive, which includes a machine monitoring her oxygen and heart rate.
Just days into the campaign, which had a £20,000 goal, a donation of £17,000 marked “Kate Winslet and family” was paid to the fundraiser – which has been confirmed as a contribution from the Titanic and Mare Of Easttown actress.
Ms Hunter told the BBC: “Our journey as family has been very traumatic and I just feel done at this point in my life.
“When I heard about the money I just burst into tears – I thought it wasn’t even real.
“I’m still thinking is this real?”
Winslet’s upcoming Channel 4 feature film, I Am Ruth, is set for release later this year and sees her play Ruth, the mother of a character called Freya – played by Winslet’s own daughter, 22-year-old Mia Threapleton.
Winslet co-authored the film – which looks at the mental health crisis affecting young people in the UK – alongside Dominic Savage, series creator of the I Am anthology of standalone dramas.
On her GoFundMe page, Ms Hunter said she has “no way of reducing” the energy in her home due to Freya’s needs and she faced a predicted annual fuel bill of £17,000 in January 2023 – up from just over £9,000 in October this year.
In August Ms Hunter told the PA news agency about her fears for the winter, stating: “Our families are going to suffer, there’s going to be a mass crisis for the NHS and social care and children will die if their families are not able to pay for it.”