INSPIRATIONAL Lochgelly youngster, Ava Stark, is ready to pull on her walking boots and support the charity that helped save her life.

The brave seven-year-old, who is a pupil at Lumphinnans Primary School, is planning to get together with family and friends to walk 10 kilometres in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Four years ago, Ava captured the hearts of the nation after she was diagnosed with inherited bone marrow failure.

Unless she had a transplant that would allow her immune system to fight off infection, the news meant that she would be at higher risk of developing cancer or leukaemia.

After an emotional appeal in the Times by Ava's mum, Marie, to encourage more people to take a simple swab test that could identify a possible donor, more than 80,000 people registered with Anthony Nolan.

After a potential match had previously pulled out, a matching donor was found and Ava successfully had her transplant on November 25 2016.

Last year, after initially being allowed to write an anonymous letter to Ava's donor via Anthony Nolan, the family made contact with Juleena Masters, who lives in Oklahoma, in the United States, who was revealed as the person whose donation of stem cells allowed Ava's transplant to take place.

Although Marie, of Sunnyside Place, said that "you couldn't even fundraise enough" to thank Anthony Nolan, she's proud Ava has decided to do a walk to help them.

"It was Ava's idea," she explained.

"We did it in 2018 and we did it last year. My gran had passed away and, before she did it, we pushed her on her wheelchair to the Forth Road Bridge and put a love lock up with my gran's name on it.

"We were walking over there the other day, and Ava says 'can we do that walk again'? I'm like, we're walking, what are you talking about? She says no, the walk where we walk different places and we do it on the app – we have to calculate it so that's 10 kilometres.

"Me and my mum always talk about it and wonder if she's going to help out with charities when she's older, and I was like, oh, she's helping. Normally it's us and saying Ava, we're going to do this, and she's like mmhmm.

"But obviously this time it was her idea."

Dressing up at Ava's request – as unicorns in particular – is on the cards as part of the family's fundraising effort, which also includes a Dunfermline company creating Anthony Nolan cupcakes, and support from others in and around Lochgelly.

Of Anthony Nolan, Marie, 37, continued: "You couldn't even fundraise enough to say thank you.

"It was crazy how much they did for us and still do for us. Even years later, they still message how are you? Is there anything you need help with?

"It's like you're not alone."

While admitting lockdown has had its stressful moments, Marie has been grateful for additional time with Ava, who she admits is growing up fast.

"It's four years in November (since her transplant); it just feels like the other day," she added.

"It doesn't feel that long ago. It's her hair we notice the most – it's just grown everywhere!

"She's seven now. It's something we didn't think we'd see and it's here right in front of us."

The family hope to begin their fundraising in the second week of August and have launched an online fundraising page, which already has almost doubled its £250 target.

To donate, visit