Reaching 21 is a milestone in everyone’s life, but for cancer survivor Keiran Gallacher and his family the occasion will be extra special.
He was only nine when he was struck by the disease a second time and doctors warned he had only weeks to live.
However, thanks to the efforts of one persistent doctor, Keiran was given a course of treatment which saved his life. It’s been a long battle with many visits to Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital over the years, but he’s due to get the all clear when he turns 21 this autumn.
Keiran and his family, of Coalhall Avenue, Motherwell, showed their gratitude by holding a charity night at Motherwell’s Jack Daniels Sports Bar which raised £2,750 for Yorkhill Children’s Charity.
Family members are also gearing up for a sky dive in Fife next month which will raise thousands more.
Mum Margaret Chalmers said Keiran was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was five, but recovered with treatment.
However, he had a relapse a few years later and this time the outlook was grim.
Margaret said: “We were told nothing could be done and he had only a matter of weeks or months to live. We were devastated.
“The cancer had gone into his bones. His condition was almost unheard of and it appeared no one in the UK had responded to treatment for it.
“But Dr Dermot Murphy, an oncologist at Yorkhill, contacted various cancer institutes. He was determined to find a treatment and eventually Keiran was given drugs which worked.
“It’s been a long road and we have seen a lot of sadness over the years at Yorkhill as other children have died. We feel very lucky that we still have Keiran.”
Margaret was so grateful to Dr Murphy that she named her son Nathan Dermot in his honour. And she’s been so inspired by the care Keiran got that she’s training for a career in nursing. She is starting the third year of a university course and hopes to graduate next year.
Margaret thanked her son Aaron’s fiancee Sam Dunn for helping to organise the charity night, everyone who attended and all who gave donations. The evening included sponsored head shaving, tombola and raffles.
More on this story in the Motherwell Times, on sale now.