The amazing South Shields role model who fought back to health after a transplant

Transplant hero Becca Anderson has re-lived the night she won a Best of South Tyneside award – and learned about it in a New York hotel.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 4:55 am

The inspirational South Shields woman was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010 when she was aged 18.

Nine years later, she won the Role Model of the Year trophy at the 2019 Best of South Tyneside Awards when judges heard of her remarkable story.

But she could not be at the awards night because she was away working in her job as cabin crew for an airline at the time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Becca Anderson who was a 2019 Best of South Tyneside Awards winner. Could you follow in her footsteps?

"I remember I had been on a long flight and I had just got to the hotel in New York,” she remembered.

"I was absolutely shattered but then I got this call to say I had won. I had a celebratory drink.”

Becca, 30, who now works for the Catholic Trust, urged people to enter this year’s awards and said: “I didn’t expect to win anything and I was overwhelmed when I did.

"I was born in South Shields. I live and breathe this town and it was huge to be recognised by the community you are living in.”

Becca Anderson pictured just before she tackled the 2019 Great North Run in aid of Anthony Nolan Trust.

Becca had three rounds of chemotherapy after her leukaemia diagnosis but she was told by medical staff she would need a stem cell transplant if she were to be cured and there was no match within her family.

The Anthony Nolan Trust searched the stem cell register for someone who could save her life.

A match was found and she went into hospital in November 2010, where she had her transplant and remained in isolation for two months.

Nine years later, Becca took on the Great North Run in 2019 as her way of saying thank you to Anthony Nolan.

Best of South Tyneside Awards. The Role Model of the Year trophy was presented by Shields Gazette Editorial Director Joy Yates to Gillian Grey, aunt of winner Becca Anderson.

It was a complete transformation and her amazing efforts saw her become the Role Model of the Year at the 2019 Best of South Tyneside Awards.

A number of people spotted the story of Becca’s win and she said: “They reached out for help and guidance as they were going through something similar.

"To have that recognition in the community is a huge thing.”

The annual Best of South Tyneside Awards are back with a headline sponsor of UTS and we won’t rest until we have found those inspirational people who make a difference to so many lives.

Becca Anderson who tackled the 2019 Great North Run just 9 years after a stem cell transplant.

Now is the time to put the unsung stars of your neighbourhoods in the running for honours.

Is there a role model, a carer, or a child who you think shows incredible courage? Do you want to honour a community stalwart who goes the extra mile to help others without asking for acknowledgement.

Is there a child of achievement who has gone that extra length to achieve their targets?

Or is there a young stage star who would deserve to win the Young Performer of the Year category.

You have plenty of time to come forward with the names of those you want to see in the running. Once we pass the competition deadline, a panel of judges will meet to draw up the shortlist.

For now, though, get those nominations in. Send them by email to [email protected]

To find out more, visit

Read More

Read More
Best of South Tyneside Awards: New honour will recognise South Tyneside's Covid ...

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. The Shields Gazette has been on South Tyneside since 1849, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.