A young leukaemia survivor is asking people to get behind a charity which helped her, ahead of World Cancer Day next month.
Ailsa MacGregor from Scone is hoping to raise awareness and money to support CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and young people.
The 26-year-old was diagnosed in May 2010, just weeks before her 18th birthday, and had to go through gruelling treatment at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, almost 50 miles from home.
During her tests and treatment, Ailsa’s parents stayed at one of the charity’s Homes from Home, CLIC Villa, where families can stay for free to be near their child.
Ailsa spoke of her shock when she was finally diagnosed after weeks of tests.
“I knew something was terribly wrong when I was taken into the treatment room where my parents were already sitting and had obviously been crying,” she said.
“My mum wanted to be the one to tell me and when she explained I had leukaemia I just remember crying and I didn’t take anything else in. I didn’t want to accept I had cancer and didn’t want to know anything about it.”
“Before we found out about the Home from Home I remember my parents discussing where on earth they could rent somewhere affordable near the hospital so that they could be with me.
“My mum and dad still talk about feeling the weight lifted from their shoulders in a time of total confusion and stress. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without the house and CLIC Sargent’s support.”
Research from the charity has shown families spend around an extra £600 per month while their child is having treatment, paying for food, travel, parking and accommodation.
Ailsa finished treatment in 2012 and now wants to repay CLIC Sargent. She is encouraging people to buy the charity’s new Band Against Cancer wristbands, in the run up to World Cancer Day on February 4.
The bands are available for £2 on CLIC Sargent’s website, as well as in Morrisons stores, J D Wetherspoon pubs and some H Samuel and Ernest Jones shops.
Donna Bednarek, CLIC Sargent fundraising and engagement manager for north Scotland, said: “Donating and getting your wristband is a simple way to show your support for CLIC Sargent and people like Ailsa this World Cancer Day.
“Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer.
“Cancer costs for families in so many ways but with your help, CLIC Sargent can fight for these families by providing practical, emotional and financial support, to help minimise the damage cancer causes beyond their health.”