Derek nears the mil­lion mark

Fundraiser ex­cited by new Crohn’s projects

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Staff re­porter

Cam­bus­lang fundraiser Derek McEwan has re­vealed his de­light at help­ing to fund a po­ten­tial new treat­ment for Crohn’s dis­ease.

As a 16-year-old boy, Derek faced the heart­break of los­ing his mum, Cather­ine, to the con­di­tion. She was only 38.

For the past 14 years he has been work­ing tire­lessly to raise money for Crohn’s and Coli­tis UK, as well as the Royal Sick Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal in Glas­gow through his Cather­ine McEwan Foun­da­tion.

And with nearly £1 mil­lion al­ready raised, he is start­ing to see some long-term re­sults.

“There is a num­ber of projects we are fund­ing,” said 41-year-old Derek.

“I am ex­cited about all of them, but one of them is re­ally ex­cit­ing.

“Ba­si­cally, there is some­thing called mod­u­lat­ing which is a drink they give to kids who have lost a lot of weight through Crohn’s.

“You let noth­ing else pass your lips for eight weeks and drink two litres a day. I’ve tried it and it’s re­ally not nice.

“The psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects are se­vere. Imag­ine be­ing at a birth­day party or fam­ily din­ner and all you can take is this drink.

“The re­search we have funded has de­vel­oped a diet that will repli­cate the ef­fects of the mod­u­lat­ing.

“We are iden­ti­fy­ing patients right now and will be im­ple­ment­ing it over the rest of the year to see if it works.

“We’ve been fund­ing this for seven years. If it’s suc­cess­ful it could be a huge break­through.”

Derek has al­ready helped fund a va­ri­ety of short-term projects, such as pub­li­ca­tions help­ing chil­dren deal with the tran­si­tion from pae­di­atric care to adult care and in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease nurses at the hospi­tal for sick kids.

He has done this through ma­jor events like his an­nual Red Hot Ball, the lat­est of which took place in March in Glas­gow’s Dou­ble Tree by Hilton ho­tel and raised £50,000.

“We had an 80s theme,” says Derek. “We had Pat Sharpe there, along with the likes of Brother Be­yond, Dr and the Medics and Hazell Dean.

“Every­one was hav­ing so much fun we had to kick them out at 2am. It was men­tal.”

The £50,000 matched their best ever re­turn from the ball, and has helped them to within just £75,000 of break­ing the mil­lion bar­rier.

Other events com­ing up in­clude reg­u­lar fundrais­ers such as Tea Jenny in Septem­ber, ‘Com­edy Crohnies’ in Oc­to­ber and the Santa Bungee in Novem­ber, with Derek com­plet­ing one in Lon­don as well as Glas­gow.

Be­fore then, on June 17, he will com­plete the Peak2Peak chal­lenge, where he and his team will climb Ben Ne­vis, Scafell Pike and Snow­don all in the same day.

Al­though he has never set tar­gets in terms of fundrais­ing, Derek ad­mits he does have one eye on the £1 mil­lion mark.

“The foun­da­tion has never been about how much money it can raise, we are more in­ter­ested in the projects and the ben­e­fits they bring to peo­ple. But all be­ing well we should smash the mil­lion bar­rier and that would be a great achieve­ment.”

Derek is look­ing for peo­ple to help out with his Peak2Peak chal­lenge as well as busi­nesses to get in­volved to sup­port the climbers. Go to www. peak2­peak2017.co.uk for more in­for­ma­tion.

We had to kick them out at 2am. It was men­tal

Hav­ing a ball Derek McEwan (left) in­tro­duces the 2017 Red Hot Ball which raised £50,000

On top of the world Derek and his pals get in some train­ing for their three peaks chal­lenge

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