Taynuilt daugh­ter pays trib­ute to can­cer cam­paigner as bik­ers plan trip to Oban

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

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

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