Alan takes plunge for Sick Kids
HIS parents said goodbye to him for what they thought would be the last time when he was only five.
Alan Macrae was about to go in for complex emergency surgery on a brain tumour, and his family were told to prepare for the worst.
But 18 years on, he is an intelligent young man, living in his own flat and holding down a job, despite a lifetime of treatment and disadvantage.
He is so thankful to the Sick Kids Hospital for saving his life, the 23-year-old from Murrayfield still chooses to attend there for his check-ups, despite being well over the age limit, and has vowed to continue going there for the rest of his life.
His memories of the life-saving surgery are vague, but his mother Inez, 57, has a clear recollection.
What she and accountant husband Grant, 58, experienced as parents inspired them to embark on a lifetime of fundraising for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.
"It all happened incredibly quickly," Mrs Macrae said.
"He'd been complaining of headaches and thanks to the quick thinking of our GP we had him in for a scan at the end of the week.
"They found the tumour and the surgery was booked for early the next week, so we didn't have a lot of time to really reflect on what was going on.
"When we said our goodbyes to him, we knew that really could have been goodbye forever."
A six-hour wait ensued, but fortunately the call came and they were summoned to see their son.
"There was also a risk he would come through, but with severe brain damage," she added. "But as soon as we saw him we could just tell he was still the same little Alan."
Subsequent radiotherapy left him with hair loss, hearing problems and slight learning difficulties – not that you would notice from conversing with the eloquent Hearts fan who works in Marks & Spencer.
"Obviously I was very young at the time," he said. "I remember hearing the medicine trolley and burrowing under the covers to hide from it."
"The Sick Kids saved my life and I now go there once a year for tests.
"I could go elsewhere, but I think they like to keep me there, and I like going."
As one of many fundraising initiatives the family is involved in – his father is the chairman of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation – he will be participating in a sky dive for the New Pyjamas campaign to raise 15 million for the new hospital expected to open at Little France in 2012.
The charity is still seeking skydivers for the event at the end of September, which should raise thousands for the bid.
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