So surprised... I read the letter three times
Cancer fundraiser John is gobsmacked by MBE honour
A tireless fundraiser whose son died of cancer has been awarded an MBE by the Queen in today’s Birthday Honours.
John Delaney, of Lochwinnoch, has raised more than £500,000 so far for the Teenage Cancer Trust following the death of his son Andrew from the disease at the age of just 14 in 2003.
But independent financial manager Mr Delaney has mixed emotions about the honour.
“I’d rather nobody had ever heard of me,” he said.
It was after Andrew’s death that Mr Delaney was inspired to become a fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust, not just in memory of his son but also to help all those future generations of young people who will need care specific to their age.
Every day, around seven young people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK, and the trust supports them before, during, and after treatment.
The charity needs to raise £2,850 every day to maintain its current services in Scotland.
That’s where Mr Delaney comes in, with a long list of fundraising challenges already under his belt.
He said: “I have done the West Highland Way, the Caledonian Challenge, The Boston (Rowing) Marathon, a Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle, and a cycle along the coast of Ireland from Mizen Head in the southwest to Malin Head in the northeast.
“On most of these trips I was accompanied by my good friend from Lochwinnoch Dr Roger Carter, and he deserves a medal for putting up with my moans and groans throughout all of these challenges.
“Indeed, the whole of Lochwinnoch deserves the medal for the way they have supported my wife Rosemarie and me, and pretty much adopted the Teenage Cancer Trust as the village charity for the past 10 years or so.
“I also helped organise some classical concerts in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the charity a few years back, with a full professional symphony orchestra conducted by the composer Karl Jenkins.”
Teenage cancer sufferers have particular needs when it comes to treatment and hospitalisation, as Mr Delaney found out after Andrew was diagnosed with a tumour on his spinal cord.
And, as the cancer took hold, rugby fan Andrew ended up paralysed from the waist down.
“He was confined to bed and required full- time hospital treatment,” Mr Delaney told the Express in 2013.
“Although he was only 14, he was six feet tall and was too big for a children’s bed, so we went to the Western Infirmary, in Glasgow, but it was hideous.
“He was to be admitted to a ward full of old men who were dying of cancer, even though he had been absolutely fine just a month earlier.
“Thankfully, a bed was found for him in another ward and he was there for six weeks, with an ambulance taking him to the Beatson every day for radiotherapy.”
John, 59, and Andrew’s mum Rosemarie, 58, decided to take him home to be with his brother Paul and sister Sarah, who are now 26 and 28 respectively.
And it was after Andrew’s death that Mr Delaney saw music legend Roger Daltrey on television talking about a charity called the Teenage Cancer Trust.
He got in touch with the charity and found out they didn’t have a presence in Scotland.
He was asked to help, and now, thanks to his fundraising efforts and those of others, the Teenage Cancer Trust has four units in Scotland: at The Glasgow Children’s Hospital, the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, at Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital and at the Western General in Edinburgh.
Mr Delaney was stunned when he received the letter telling him he had been nominated for the MBE.
“I was totally gobsmacked when I got the letter,” he said.
“I read it three times and thought: ‘Is this legit?’”
But it soon sunk it that the letter was indeed legit and that Mr Delaney’s royal honour was recognition, not just of his own monumental fundraising, but of the Teenage Cancer Trust too.
“I am chuffed,” he said.
Vanessa Todd, regional fundraiser in the West of Scotland at Teenage Cancer Trust, paid tribute to Mr Delaney.
She said: “We were absolutely thrilled to hear the news that John is to be honoured with an MBE.
“John has been a long- time supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust and as one of our earliest fundraising champions in the country, was absolutely essential in our charity’s expansion into Scotland.
“He’s a tireless advocate and fundraiser for specialised teenage and young adult cancer care and we are extremely proud to see him recognised with this well deserved honour.”
To help the Teenage Cancer Trust, visit www. teenagecancertrust.org
Inspiration Son Andrew passed away from cancer