RECEIVING a cancer diagnosis marks the start of a long and life altering journey. Many sufferers and survivors are inspired to use their experiences to benefit the lives of others.
We look at just a few stories of those who have beaten cancer and done something extraordinary. Nicole Millar, aged 4
Four-year-old Nicole Millar defied the odds to beat an aggressive and rare cancer when she was just 17-months-old.
The youngster was diagnosed with neuroblastoma almost three years ago and was told she may never walk again because the tumour had weaved its way through the vertebrae of her spine paralysing her from the chest down.
Nicole astounded the 600 supporters who turned out for this year’s Cancer Research UK Relay for Life at Catto Park in Peterhead when she walked around the circuit to help raise money for lifesaving research.
Francesca Mancini, aged 19
Francesca Mancini found out she had cancer while receiving treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Before beginning arthritis treatment, doctors referred her for a chest x-ray in early 2015 where they made the shocking discovery that Francesca had a mass on her thymus - a gland in the middle of her chest cavity. After an operation to remove the tumour, she received a second, devastating diagnosis - stage four non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a cancer that develops in your immune system.
After undergoing one of the hardest chemos you can get, she has been given the welcome news that she’s in remission.
She is now planning to resume her course at Edinburgh University - where she is studying biomedical science, and hopes to have a career in oncology.
Heather Duff, aged 29
Fitness fanatic Heather Duff celebrated being cancer free by setting herself 30 challenges.
Heather, who is a sports community inclusion officer at Edinburgh Leisure, was given the good news in 2014. After having her whole life changed by the diagnosis, she set herself 30 challenges to complete by the time she turned 30.
So far she has met a celebrity – comedian Adam Hills sang ‘Happy Cancerversary’ to the tune of Happy Birthday in front of a large audience on the anniversary that Heather was diagnosed with cancer, bagged a munro, dived from a 10m board at the Commonwealth Pool, become a homeowner, watched a sunrise and sunset in the same spot and got a tattoo with her mum.
In the coming months, Heather also intends to ride a motorbike, learn to juggle, throw an axe in Canada and run a marathon.
Viv Donaldson, aged 56
Mother of two Viv Donaldson, who diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2014, received the all clear last year.
Viv from East Lothian was fortunate enough to catch the cancer early after seeking medical help as soon as she felt unwell.
Since beating the disease, Viv has been vocal about the importance of early detection and getting anything unusual checked by a doctor.
Gordon Robertson, aged 51
Gordon Robertson, from Paisley, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010 and subsequently underwent surgery. With the benefit of early detection, Gordon didn’t need to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Now that he’s cancer-free, he is appearing in posters near hospital sites throughout Glasgow which highlight crucial cancer information that’s available to patients and their loved ones.
It’s is the first time the initiative Gordon is part of has ran in Scotland and is designed to help people find answers at any stage of their cancer journey, from understanding symptoms to coping after treatment.