A bereaved Stonehaven mum is encouraging people in Kincardine and Mearns to “glow gold” for September to highlight childhood cancer awareness.
Midwife Tanya Turnbull’s five-year-old son Sam Dorrance passed away in July after he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour last September.
Little Sam had just begun Primary One at Dunnottar Primary School when he began vomiting every morning and complaining of neck pain.
A CT scan confirmed that he was suffering from a brain tumour and months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed.
Tragically, three weeks after his treatment was finished, Sam passed away at home on July 14.
Tanya said: “Sam was born in October 2010, helped into the world by two of my friends and colleagues in the hospital that I worked in. In true Sam style he decided to enter the world looking upwards towards the sky.
“Sam rarely left our side and in new situations would stand and assess the details before joining in, never one to run head on into things. He loved being outside, either playing down at the beach and throwing stones in the sea, jumping in muddy puddles, playing pooh sticks on the bridge in the woods and riding his bike or scooter.”
All over the country significant buildings will be lit up gold as part of the national campaign, including Marischal College in Aberdeen.
Tanya told the Leader that she and her friend Claire Lindsay are encouraging people to support the “glow gold” campaign, not as a money-making venture but rather an attempt to heighten awareness.
Already several local schools are getting involved.
Dunnottar Primary School headteacher Lisa Williams told the Leader that the school was planning to ask pupils and staff to come to school on September 23 wearing yellow or gold, and classes are busy with preparations for a sale from 3.30pm-5pm that day in the school grounds where they will be selling yellow and gold items such as cakes, cards and jewellery. Tanya and Claire are also lending their support to a plan to get the war memorial lit up as part of the campaign.
Tanya told the Leader: “It’s less about making money and more about raising awareness that childhood cancer unfortunately does happen.”
She added: “Childhood cancer is not something I gave much thought to, until my own child was affected by it. I don’t think that many people even know that September is childhood cancer awareness month, but we are hoping for it to become as well known as the go pink for Breast Cancer awareness month in October.
Eleven young people (0-14) in the uk are diagnosed with cancer every day, and three of these children won’t survive. This means that cancer is the leading cause of death in children, teenagers and young adults. For the children that do survive cancer 95% will be left with a chronic health problem and 80% with a severe or life threatening condition. This is from the harsh treatment the children receive at such a young age.”
Shockingly, only three new drugs have been approved in the last 30 years for use in childhood cancer and according to cancer research uk only 1.3% of funding in 2015/16 was spent on researching childhood cancers. While Sam was ill his family set up Super Sam’s Fund, in conjunction with the Brain Tumour Charity. They have already raised a whopping £41,000 towards research. and £20,000 of it was raised by a sponsored cycle organised by Sam’s uncle, Colin Dorrance, called Cycle for Sam - 10 cyclists travelled 200 miles from their starting point in Gretna Green to Stonehaven via Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital.
To find out more visit www.thebraintumourcharity.org/get-involved/supporter-groups/groups/super-sams-fund/