Courageous football fan Ian Anderson led the charge against cancer in Scotland’s biggest city- after overcoming the disease.
Dad-of-two Ian, 57, from Newton Mearns was chosen as VIP to sound the horn and send more than 1,100 Scots on Cancer Research UK’s Shine Night Walk in Glasgow on Saturday (August 18).
Sponsorship money is still coming in but the 10K which saw people of all ages and abilities uniting through light to help beat cancer sooner has already raised more than £52,000 for life saving research.
Money raised will help Cancer Research UK scientists find new ways to treat cancer and save lives. Participants could choose to raise money for the area of cancer research closest to their hearts, selecting from 12 different areas of scientific research. These included prostate cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia. Or they could simply give their backing to Cancer Research UK’s overall work.
Ian is back where he belongs on the pitch playing in goals every Tuesday night as part of the Partick Thistle Football Fans in training legends team after a tough 12 months fighting cancer. But it was an emotional moment for Ian as he stepped up on to stage next to the start line of Shine Glasgow to rally the crowd as it will be exactly a year since he received a letter telling him the results of the bowel cancer screening test he’d taken were abnormal. The bowel screening test- sent through the post to people aged 50 to 74 every two years- is the most effective way of finding bowel cancer early.
Ian said: “I’m proud to support Shine to help raise awareness. The bowel screening test is a little bit of kit that really could save your life. It can detect cancer early and you can complete it in your own home. Of course it was a shock at first when I received that letter last August advising me there could be a problem.
“I knew it meant I could have cancer but I also knew how important it was to get treated for cancer early. Within 42 days of that letter arriving I was in hospital getting surgery to remove the cancer. That was actually the first step on my road to recovery.
“Since my diagnosis some of my football gang who are also over 50 have asked me about the bowel screening test. I’ve encouraged them to take the test the next time it comes through their door. I’ve returned to work, football and life is good again thanks to that test.”
Glasgow city centre lit up on Saturday night with fairy lights and neon as Shine participants set off from the Scottish Event Campus at 9pm. The 10K route which transformed the city streets in to a fun and inspirational parade of light crossed over Bell’s Bridge, passing BBC Scotland and STV headquarters. Participants then walked back over the River Clyde and along the Broomielaw then up to George Square and past Glasgow Cathedral and landmarks including the Duke of Wellington statue outside the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow Cathedral and the University of Strathclyde.
The route also passed Cancer Research UK flagship shop on Queen Street before heading back to the River Clyde and the finish line.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman in Scotland, said: “We’re so pleased to bring Cancer Research UK’s Shine Night Walk to Glasgow again.
“We’d like to thank our VIP starter Ian and everyone who came along to make this event in Glasgow so special. It was a wonderful opportunity for people to come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer or celebrate the lives of those dear to them who have survived cancer.
“Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer but the battle against cancer never stops. Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fun, the sooner that day will come.
New figures show 55.6 per cent of Scots eligible for bowel cancer screening took up the offer between November 2015 and October 2017, below the target of 60 per cent. Those living in the poorest areas were less likely to take up the offer of a test, at 42.3 per cent compared to 65.3 per cent in the wealthiest areas.
But a new test, called FIT which was introduced in Scotland last November is hoped to lead to more people returning the test as it’s easier to complete.
Shine Glasgow VIP Ian Anderson first started playing football regularly in 2015 by signing up for Football Fans in Training, a 12 week healthy living and weight loss programme which was affiliated to Partick Thistle. The course proved such a success that the group decided to continue training every Tuesday night. And the friends he met there were a great support when after a colonoscopy test and scans at the Victoria Hospital in Glasgow Ian was diagnosed with cancer last September. They even fixed up for a good luck Ian message to go out across the tannoy at a Partick Thistle versus Motherwell game before Ian’s treatment began.
On Friday October 13 last year at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow, Ian endured six and a half hours of surgery to remove the tumour in his bowel. It was a nerve wracking wait for Ian’s wife, Cathy Anderson, 59, and his sons, Ross Anderson, 32, and Craig, 31. But the operation was a success and all of the tumour was removed.
Ian continued: “I’m so lucky to have a wonderful wife, family and very close friends who made everything so much easier.
“They kept my spirits up. My two-year-old grandson John who lives just around the corner kept me smiling if ever I wasn’t having such a good day. One look at his face made everything seem okay again.”
Ian started on six months of chemotherapy tablets in November. It was a huge boost on May 18 this year when Ian rang a special bell at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre to mark the end of treatment. Now Ian who is clear of cancer has returned to his job at the Royal Bank of Scotland and plans a trip to London this autumn to celebrate his wedding anniversary. Ian who has been a Partick Thistle fan since his first visit to Firhill aged 10 is looking forward to getting back in to fitness.
To find out more about how to reduce the risk of cancer and detect it early, visit cruk.org/spotcancerearly.