Hasti gets message from her idol as dad wins Pride of Britain award

A GIRL whose father won a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award for fundraising to find a treatment for her rare genetic condition, has been called “inspirational” by the American music star Taylor Swift.

The surprise message to Hasti Brannagan, from West Byfleet, was shown during the ITV screening last Sunday of the presentations to 13  people who have made special contributions to the community or charities.

Taylor Swift recorded a special message for Chris and Hasti Brannigan

Swift said: “Hi Hasti and Major Chris, this is Taylor. I just wanted to say that what you did Major Chris fills me with so much admiration.

“You raised so much money and awareness for charity and, Hasti, you are amazing. You are so courageous and so inspirational that I really hope I get to meet you some day. You are the pride of Britain.”

Army major Chris and his wife Hengameh, had no idea the singer had recorded the message when they sat down to watch the programme.

The show was on late at night and Hasti watched saw it the following day after coming home from school.

“Hasti was absolutely thrilled about Taylor Swift’s message,” Hengameh said. “She said, ‘Wow, she’s so beautiful’ and then asked if we had made the video.”

Chris with his Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award

Hengameh said she and Chris hope the global singing star’s message will help to spread the message about the need to find treatments for rare diseases, which is a large part of the Hope for Hasti campaign.

Its charity’s main aim is to fund the search for a treatment for Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), with which Hasti, 8, was born.  CdLS leads to various problems which often get worse with age.

Chris won the ITV Fundraiser category for raising more than £500,000 by walking 700 miles barefoot from Land’s End to Edinburgh earlier this year.

He said he made the walk barefoot because Hasti’s condition makes wearing shoes painful.

With Hengameh’s help, the Pride of Britain organisers tricked Chris into going to a venue where Ore Oduba, the TV presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing winner, surprised him with the award trophy.

Hope for Hasti is currently being boosted with a 12-week relay by 150 volunteers who are retracing Chris’s walk.

So far, the relay has reached Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, where Chris received a huge welcome.

The relay, which has several weeks to go, has raised £36,000, putting the total fundraising to more than £750,000.

Hasti, who would like to be a dancer or a chef, was given the diagnosis in 2018.

CdLS is characterised by reduced growth, global developmental delay, feeding problems, speech and language difficulties hearing problems and, in many cases, limb abnormalities. 

The money raised by Hope for Hasti will go towards research and development of a gene therapy.

For more information, and to make donations, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/hopeforhasti.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorial Team