Scot of the Week: Claire Harwood


Fundraiser Claire Harwood is this week’s Scot of the Week.

The 39-year-old has taken part in various challenges since establishing The High Hopes Hike last year to raise funds, and awareness, of blood cancer charity Bloodwise.

Claire, and her 40-strong team, took part in the charity’s My Peak Challenge to remember those they’ve lost to cancer, including her close family friend Nicky McArthur.

She said: “My dear friend Nicky had leukaemia for several years and received a stem cell transplant, but he then unfortunately contracted pneumonia and passed away at the tender age of 29. This year is his 10th anniversary.

“The work and support that Bloodwise gives to patients and their families is immeasurable and if I can do anything to help them find better treatments for this disease, then I will. I also believe that if we can find a cure for one cancer it opens the door to all.”

Scottish actor Sam Heughan, of Outlander fame, created My Peak Challenge for Bloodwise to help fund vital research into leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancer-related disorders.

Claire, an account manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, formed The High Hopes Hike in March 2015 to raise money for Bloodwise and now it has been established as official event for the charity. 

Claire explained: “Too many people I love have lost their lives to cancer, and too many people have suffered or are suffering due to cancer. Enough is enough. I run to remember and to help find a cure.”

Last year, Claire organised for The High Hopes Team to climb Ben Lomond as part of  My Peak Challenge. Dressed as Elvis, 18 walkers summited the Ben, raising £1,400 which went directly towards funding a clinical trial testing ways of treating aggressive blood cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

In May this year, Claire arranged for a 40-strong team to walk the Devil’s Staircase dressed as Star Wars characters and they raised another £1,800.


Claire with the Storm Troopers at the summit

Then at the weekend, 14 members of The High Hopes Team ran the Half Marathon as part of Scotland’s Great Scottish Run. They were joined by runners from Germany and America, after actor Sam tweeted about Claire’s event! In doing so, they boosted Bloodwise’s funds by another £2,035 and counting.


Claire (front right) with the High Hopes Team at the weekend’s Great Scottish Run

Now, Claire is in the throes of organising next year’s High Hopes event for My Peak Challenge– a 12-mile trek from Bridge of Orchy to Kings House, Glencoe. In keeping with the fancy dress theme, all participants are encouraged to become Willy Wonka or the Oompa Loompas from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!


Laura Coventry