Kate Winslet has said it “absolutely destroyed” her to hear about a woman who was facing a £17,000 energy bill just to keep her daughter alive, and felt she had no other option but to help.
Carolynne Hunter’s 12-year-old daughter Freya 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 an appeal on GoFundMe last month to help pay for the rising costs of the equipment that keeps Freya alive, such as a machine monitoring her oxygen and heart rate.
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 to have come from the actress.
The Titanic star, 47, has now said she felt she had to do something when she heard Ms Hunter was “going to have to put her child into care because she could not afford her electricity bills” and it “absolutely destroyed her”.
“I thought, on what planet is anyone going to let that happen? This is completely, completely wrong,” she told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.
“It was just wrong to me that this woman was going to suffer and that she should have been in any way as a mother forced to make such a heartbreaking decision because she simply didn’t have the support and couldn’t pay the bills.
“I just couldn’t let that happen.”
On her GoFundMe page, Ms Hunter disclosed she had “no way of reducing” the energy in her home due to her daughter’s needs, and 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 said she was in fear of the winter months.
“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,” she told PA news agency.