SCOTS SOLDIER STANDS UP TO CANCER FOR THE WOMAN HE LOVES
A SCOTS soldier whose girlfriend has beaten cancer twice is standing up to the disease in her name.
Paul McCann, 38, who is a colour sergeant with the Scots Guards posed with a placard declaring: “I’m standing up for Tracy” to show his support for his partner Tracy Kearman, 36, and back Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4. Stand Up To Cancer aims to raise money to fund vital research which will get new and better treatments to cancer patients faster and will culminate with an evening of special programming on Channel 4 on Friday October 9. Now the couple are urging Scots to get behind the campaign and help raise money at work, school or at home.
The couple from Dreghorn, Ayrshire know only too well how crucial new developments and breakthroughs in treatment are in helping children and adults survive cancer.
Paul said: “I’m so grateful for the treatment that saved Tracy’s life twice.
“I’m here to Stand up to Cancer because I love Tracy and I’m so proud of how she’s taken everything on. It’s thanks to Tracy that I really appreciate the power of research. That’s why I want to encourage as many people as possible to unite and join Stand Up To Cancer and help raise as much money as possible.”
Tracy, who is a nurse, was just 32 when diagnosed with cancer for the first time in January 2011. She went to her GP for a check up after discovering a lump in her right breast and was referred to Crosshouse hospital in Kilmarnock. Tracy recalls vividly the moment during an ultra sound when her fears grew that she had cancer.
Tracy said: “The woman who was doing the ultrasound kept scanning the same spot.
“I just knew by the look on her face that something was wrong. I used to work as a nurse in an operating theatre so I remembered how it felt when you know something is wrong but you don’t want to be the one to tell the patient.
“I asked her straight. I said, you’ve found something haven’t you? She replied, sorry Tracy but I have.”
Tracy went through surgery to have the lump removed after doctors confirmed that she had stage three breast cancer. Breaking the news to her parents, Norman and Grace Kearman, was one of the toughest tasks. Tracy’s mum Grace had successfully battled breast cancer after being diagnosed aged 40 so knew exactly the battle that lay ahead. Tracy endured chemotherapy until the summer then six weeks of radiotherapy. It took a long time to build back up to full strength but going through cancer made Tracy re-evaluate what she wanted out of life and sadly her marriage broke up less than six months after treatment finished. But her new single life changed forever when she started chatting on Facebook to Paul McCann, a soldier who had been her first love when they were both teenagers at Loudoun Academy, Galston. Paul was posted to serve in the army in Afghanistan but they chatted online and on the phone. When he returned from overseas they met up for the first time since their schooldays.
Tracy said: “We’d met when we were very young so I was worried the spark might not be there any more.
“It could have just felt like old friends meeting up again but I didn’t have to worry. As soon as I set eyes on Paul again that spark returned. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe it was fate that brought Paul and I back together.”
Just before Christmas 2012, Tracy and Paul moved in together and life was good. That’s why it was a hammer blow in February this year when tests revealed Tracy had cervical cancer. She needed hysterectomy surgery to save her life.
Tracy said: “The doctor said: ‘I’m not going to beat around the bush as you’ve been here before.
You have cancer again’. Paul was very strong which helped me. He said we’re going to deal with this and everything is going to be fine. He’s been brilliant through it all. Every day was a fight between me and cancer. But right from the start I was adamant that cancer was not going to win. I’m clear of cancer again now and I know how precious life is. It’s been exhausting going through treatment for cancer twice but I’m alive and I could very easily not have been.”
Around three people are diagnosed with cancer every hour in Scotland.* By joining Stand Up To Cancer, supporters across the country will be uniting with doctors, nurses, scientists and celebrities to generate funds, raise awareness and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up to Cancer has already raised more than £23.8million. This year, there are many ways to get involved and help save lives. A free fundraising kit is available to help spark creative ideas and provide support.
Supporters of all ages can literally stand up and get sponsored, choosing exactly how, when and where they make their stand. Alternatively, they might choose to wear a ridiculous bottom half for the day with the ‘Crazy Legs’ challenge, or cook up some cash by conjuring up culinary delights and selling them at work or school.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We are very grateful to Tracy and Paul for their support.
“Stand Up To Cancer funds translational research that aims to have a real impact on patients’ lives. We’ve made amazing progress against cancer in the past few decades. Thanks to new treatments, screening and earlier diagnosis, more people are surviving the disease than ever before. Money raised by Stand Up To Cancer is helping change the face of cancer research by funding clinical trials, which mean new and improved treatments can be tested and then given to people who need them most.
“One in two of us in the UK will develop cancer at some point in our lives. That’s why we need everyone to join in and make a stand against cancer right now.”
People across Scotland can also show their support for the campaign in style as a fun range of clothing and accessories for men, women, children, and even dogs, is available online at standuptocancer.org.uk and in Cancer Research UK shops.
Stand Up To Cancer is supported by a host of celebrities including Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen.
For more information and to get involved visit www.standuptocancer.org.uk