At the start of 2018, Mairi ‘Ord’ MacKenzie found herself aiming to raise £500 for brain cancer research after her husband Michael was diagnosed with the condition.

By August, she had far surpassed those early expectations and is overwhelmed by the response her appeal received.

The total shot up to more than £8000 and she says she has found it hard to thank everyone, in fact, she says, “there are so many people to thank I don’t know where to start.”

She explains on her fundraising page ( https://glasgowkiltwalk2018.everydayhero.com/uk/mairi-1 ) how it all worked out and how Michael’s treatment is progressing.

“First, apologies it has taken so long to give you all an update, it’s taken quite some time to collate all the fundraising and get the final totals!  

“And what can I say other than all you donors are totally amazing! As some may know I initially set out to raise £500 but the final total has far exceeded anything I ever imagined!  

“Now before I reveal the total to you I want to give you some background information on why I was fundraising for the Brain Tumour Charity and why this is so important to me.
“In January this year Michael was diagnosed with a brain tumour, not any brain tumour either as there are around 120 different types and mutations, unfortunately for Michael he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancerous tumour called Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM for short). 

“Many of you will have heard of this form of cancer as it has been in the public eye recently with both Dame Tessa Jowell and Senator John McCain having died from the condition.

”GBM is complex and aggressive with 75% of those diagnosed surviving an average of 12-18 months, 25% of patients survive more than a year and 5% of those will survive more than 5 years.

“The Brain Tumour Charity funds research to increase survival and improve treatments, they provide support and promote awareness.  Over £500m is spent on cancer research in the UK every year, yet less than 2% is spent on brain tumours. 

“Having received a lot of information and offers of support from the charity I felt it was only right to give something back.

“Now I have given you the nasty facts I’d just like to say that Michael is doing really well, which is partly down to the excellent and efficient medical care he received both locally here on Lewis and in Glasgow and partly down to his stubborn nature and his desire not to be an average statistic!  

“He is far from average (most of you probably knew that anyway) to date he has had surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, we can’t thank Roddy O’ Kane and his team at the Neurosurgical Unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow enough. 

“Once surgery was complete he underwent combined Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy in the Beatson for six weeks, where he was very well looked after.  

“He seems to breeze through treatment with minimal side effects and he returned to work fulltime on the Monday following his discharge from the Beatson.

“He now takes chemotherapy 5 days each month whilst working fulltime as head gamekeeper, which many of you know is not a 9-5 desk job!

“We are very fortunate that Michael has a very kind and understanding employer and we live in a fantastically supportive community who rallied round in January when I needed their help most.

“People often describe cancer as a battle, I wouldn’t say that, yes it has certainly changed our lives and I can’t speak for Michael here as I can’t fully comprehend what it’s like to stand in his shoes but to me it’s not a battle, it’s just a different way of living.  

“Life is finite, but it is to be lived - some folks just have a little more knowledge about potential timelines than others I guess. I ’m not done on the fundraising either, I have promised to raise funds for the Beatson next … so watch this space. 

“So to the totals, well it turns out that all you very generous people have donated the amazing sum of £6381.38 and as I took part in the Kiltwalk the Hunter Foundation have added a further £1890 to this total which means the final total to be received by the Brain Tumour Charity is a whopping £8271.38! 

“I can’t thank everyone enough for their generosity; I really don’t know what else to say … ach mìle, mìle, taing dhuibh uile.”