A Lanark family have been raising funds for medics for years – but now they have a particularly poignant reason spurring them on.
In past years, they have supported the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill, Glasgow, prompted by an earlier tragedy.
But now Christopher Neilson, 18, has been hit by cancer, the family are backing the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, also in Glasgow, as it was there that he had the bone marrow transplant that has set him on the road to recovery.
Christopher was first taken ill with encephalitis, a brain inflammation, in 2013 while a pupil at Lanark Grammar, and a year later, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphona, a type of blood cancer.
After treatment, he had a full year and a half in remission, but the cancer returned.
“Christopher was never the one for complaining throughout unpleasant procedures,“ said his uncle, Martyn Connor.
The Douglas teenager has been through a lot, and he was in the high-dependency unit in Wishaw General Hospital a few months ago with sepsis, then transferred to the Beatson to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
“Again after he had that, he went downhill a bit and ended up in the high-dependency unit at the Beatson, but he started to pick up, and he is now making a full recovery.” said Martyn.
The family are raising money for the centre’s Beatson Cancer Charity as a thank-you.
“If it wasn’t for the Beatson, he would not be here,” said Martyn.
“He nearly died before the bone marrow transplant.
“This is our thanks for all the treatment and care he has had there.”
Christopher’s mum Lorraine and his young brother Keenan, nine, completed the Off the Beatson Track Glasgow walk to raise money.
A charity evening at Lanark’s spiritualist church this month raised more than £300, and the proceeds of psychic readings carried out by Martyn go to a fund aiming to raise £500 for Christopher.
They hope to raise £2,000 for the Beatson Cancer Charity and are almost at that target.
They have a Justgiving page, to be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martynconnor16, and Martyn and Lorraine will be collecting donations in Lanark this Friday and Saturday.