A BEARSDEN dentist spoke this week of his relief that his step-daughter is making a good recovery after suffering a rare form of cancer.
Alasdair Reid (52), who has worked at Chartwell Dental Care, Bearsden, for the past 24 years, raised £22,500 for the Beatson Pebble Appeal by climbing Kilimanjaro last September with fellow dentist Stuart Craig from Auchinleck, Ayrshire.
After travelling to Tanzania it took them six days to climb the 19,341ft peak and the last day was a tough 15-hour trek, climbing 4,000ft and descending 7,500ft.
The father of three decided to raise money for Beatson Cancer Care after his eldest step-daughter Morvern McDonald (24), a physiotherapist, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in March last year.
Alasdair, who is one of five partners at the practice, was ski-ing in Austria when he got the devastating news.
He said: “We thought she had been looking a bit plump, but it never rang an alarm bell. It was difficult to get your head around.
“Words cannot describe how we felt when Morvern was told just before Christmas that she appeared to be cancer free and that it hadn’t spread to her other ovary or uterus.
“Her strength is returning and she doesn’t need any more chemotherapy but she needs to go for scans every six months and a check every three months to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.”
During her illness, friends and family raised £26,000 for various cancer charities, including the Beatson through a 10k run and other events.
Morvern started putting on weight around Christmas 2010 but she put it down to eating too much and not exercising enough. Her waistline continued to expand no matter how much she exercised - sparking speculation from pals that she was pregnant.
When she went to the doctor she discovered the reason for the bulge, a three and a half pound tumour in her stomach the size of a football. Believing she only had a benign cyst, Morvern underwent routine surgery.
But her life was turned upside down when doctors found she had a rare form of ovarian cancer and needed emergency treatment.
She endured over a year of gruelling chemotherapy and has now been told she’s cancer free.
Morvern, who lives in Paisley, is now looking forward to getting her life back on track.
She said: “I looked five months pregnant. When you hear you have cancer it just sends you into shock, there is complete disbelief that something like that is happening to you.
“When they said I was all clear it really made Christmas and when the bells went at New Year it was almost as if it was a new chapter starting. Everyone was in tears.”
Morvern had an operation to remove the deadly 25cm tumour on her ovary - she also found out the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system and had some lymph nodes removed.
She said: “That type of cancer usually affects much older women.
“I didn’t know why this had happened, I don’t smoke or drink very much and I exercise and eat healthily.”
She lost her long brown hair during the chemotherapy and when test results arrived last November doctors were still unsure whether the cancer had gone completely. An agonising month later a biopsy revealed that she was cancer free.
She said: “I was over the moon and now I’m just trying to get back on my feet.
“My hair has grown back but it’s curly and it was straight before.
“My friends and family have been really supportive. Going through something like that makes you realise just how lucky you are.”
If you would like to donate to Alasdair’s appeal go to justgiving.com/morvern4thebeatson