"I raised £330,000 for a stranger, and my life changed forever" | Cosmopolitan
We all try and do our bit for charity, even if it's just putting change in the cake sale box or sponsoring a friend's charity 5K. But Katie Cutler, our Ultimate Inspiration from this year's Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Awards, went one further after hearing about the plight of Alan Barnes, a 67-year-old disabled man who had been brutally mugged. Just 21 days later, she'd raised a life-changing £330,000 for Alan and his future - allowing him to buy a house in an area he felt safe.
"The reaction to raising so much money was really surreal, I can't begin to explain it," Katie, 22, recalls. "I was in this bubble of being whisked all around the country, being on breakfast shows, interviewed for newspapers; I even had lunch with Carol Vorderman - it was crazy."
Dubbed the 'Angel of the North' by press, Katie hit the headlines for her selfless and extraordinary deed - which were all the more impressive considering Katie was privately struggling with her own problems at the time.
Something small can make a huge difference to someone
"It was a really hectic time for me, as I'd just had to leave my beauty salon after it was damaged by a flood, as well as having no heating or running water in my house," she remembers. "But I read Alan's story and realised I had to do something to help. I think of myself as a positive person, and I know there is always someone out there who has it worse than me."
Seeing the response to her work made Katie all the more determined to help others - setting up The Katie Cutler Foundation earlier this year, which has seen her receive a British Empire Medal for her contributions.
"I decided to create my charity to carry on my work with other vulnerable people," she says. "It goes to show that something small can make a huge difference to someone, and I'm determined to continue helping individuals who need it most."
Read the article at Cosmopolitan