Taynuilt daughter pays tribute to cancer campaigner as bikers plan trip to Oban
A TRIP to Oban for friends of a 40 year- old paramedic who died from pancreatic cancer has special resonance with Taynuilt woman, Zoe Gillies.
Zoe’s mother died from the same condition and wants to raise awareness of the disease which affects people of all ages.
Motorcycle paramedic, Andrew Luck, was just 43 when he died last year of pancreatic cancer.
And, during his illness, he fought hard for more funding for research into the disease.
Pancreatic cancer is the fifth highest cancer killer in the UK.
It has the worst survival rate of all the 22 most common cancers at just three to five per cent.
Zoe said: ‘People need to be aware of symptoms so we can get earlier detection. My mum, Mabel Braidwood, passed away with pancreatic cancer in 2013, just 16 weeks after diagnosis.
‘Mum inspired me to help raise awareness of this type of cancer as it has a low survival rate. In 2014, I helped to raise over 100,000 signatures to bring an e-petition to the Scottish parliament. Andrew Luck was such a brave man to raise awareness of the cancer while fighting the cancer himself. I know from chats with Andy that he loved the road to Oban on his motorbike.’
The bikers are leaving Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Sunday, September 30 at 9am and will be travelling to Inveraray, then onto Tyndrum and finally to Oban. The Brandon Lodge hotel, near Taynuilt, has offered free ‘soft’ refreshments for the bikers.
A stall is being set up as an awareness stand, where people can pick up leaflets which provide information on the symptoms of the cancer. Badges, pens and wristbands, which will be available to buy, will raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland (PCS).
A PCS spokesman said: ‘Andy died last July at the age of 43. As well as continuing to work as a motorcycle paramedic during his illness, Andy did so much to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer by campaigning right up to the end.
‘He was a regular at the Scottish parliament cross-party group for cancer, fighting to get more funding for research into earlier diagnosis and eventually the hope of a cure or to improve survival rates. He also took part in a hard-hitting advert along with two other pancreatic cancer patients, Kerry Harvey and Penny Lown which brought worldwide awareness to the disease.
‘Sadly Kerry Harvey also passed away last year at the age of 24, leaving Penny as the sole survivor of the three who took part in this campaign.’
Around 8,800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, making it the 11th most common cancer.
The pancreas is a large gland that’s part of the digestive system. It’s about 15cm long, and is located high in the abdomen, behind the stomach, where the ribs meet at the bottom of the breastbone.
The pancreas produces digestive enzymes – which break down food so it can be absorbed into the body and hormones – including insulin, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
In the early stages, a tumour in the pancreas doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, which can make it difficult to diagnose. The first noticeable symptoms are often pain in the back or stomach area, unexpected weight loss and jaundice.
But these can be caused by many different conditions, and people should contact their GP if they are concerned, or if these symptions start suddenly.
CAMPAIGNER: Andy Luck who died of pancreatic cancer last year
FIGHTING CANCER: Zoe Gillies with her mum, Mabel Braidwood. Mabel died in 2013, just 16 weeks after her cancer was diagnosed