Documentary team put pedals to their mettle in brain fundraiser

Gordon Shaw has an aggressive brain tumourGordon Shaw has an aggressive brain tumour
Gordon Shaw has an aggressive brain tumour
A team of work ­colleagues is taking part in the national On Yer Bike event in aid of Brain Tumour Research.

The five-man team from Melt The Fly, a documentary production ­company based in Leith, will be cycling to raise funds towards research, having taken part in The Cobbler Walk of Hope for the charity last September.

The cyclists – Austen McCowan and Will Hewitt, who founded the company, along with Lizzie Hewitt, Alice Knight and David Byrne – were inspired by 39-year-old Gordon Shaw, also of Leith, who is living with an aggressive brain tumour. Gordon, a comic book artist, is currently being filmed as part of a documentary Melt The Fly is producing about how he personifies his illness.

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Diagnosed in 2012, aged 32, after first being told he had probably had a stroke, Gordon learned after an MRI scan that he had an inoperable and incurable brain tumour. A couple of months later, Gordon faced further shocking news when a scan revealed that the tumour was growing and was now high-grade, meaning that Gordon’s survival prognosis would be considerably less too.

He had radiotherapy and chemotherapy and started to create a series of comic books to help people understand what it is like to live with cancer.

In February 2019, a further scan showed that the tumour was growing again and Gordon began more chemotherapy which, devastatingly, was found not to be working when he had the results of another scan in ­October. Gordon is now undergoing more aggressive chemotherapy.

Will said: “We first picked up a copy of Gordon’s comic Bittersweet in November 2018. Austen and I were stunned by the beautifully ­honest illustrations of Gordon’s thoughts. We asked if he’d consider us following him on his graphic journey and we’re now over a year into filming.

“Currently, Gordon is working on his next comic book which is all about the carer’s perspective on brain cancer. It’s an admirable subject to focus on – Gordon cares deeply about carers receiving the right level of support.

BBC Scotland has committed to broadcasting the film and we have backing from Screen Scotland, although the title is as yet undecided.

“Gordon is an inspiration to us. Despite his brain cancer, he continues his enormous creative output with the intention that it might connect with and help someone in a similar position to himself at some point.”

Team Melt The Fly will be taking part in the On Yer Bike spinning event on Saturday at Lifescycle Spinning Studio in Leith between 11am and 2pm. The event will see other people pedal in sync to music. Registrants can sign up to take part for one, two or three hours depending on preference, fitness and endurance.

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