CHILDREN with cancer in some of the world’s poorest countries are set to benefit from a 100-mile sponsored walk of the West Highland Way.
Duncan McNicoll, a stillman at the Glengoyne distillery, has recruited members of his family to take part in the walk.
The internationally-renowned tourist trail passes near the distillery, and Duncan is a veteran of the trek from Milngavie in the south to Fort William in the north.
Now he is having another crack at it – to help some of the world’s most desperately ill children.
Duncan (55), his brother John (51), the postmaster in Kippen, and John’s son Craig will set off today (Friday) on behalf of the Scots Australian Children’s Cancer Trust, set up by a local couple in appreciation of the life-saving treatment their grandson, Joseph MacDermid, received for a brain tumour at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Most of the money raised will be donated to World Child Cancer which twins hospitals here with others in poorer countries such as Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, and Mexico.
Only one in 10 children with cancer in developing countries is diagnosed, treated or given pain relief. The Sydney Children’s Hospital’s brain Tumour Rehabilitation Unit which treated Joseph will also benefit.
Also on the march will be Duncan’s own son Calum (22), with his girlfriend Hollie Porter (21). They have a personal mission to raise funds for a little boy – the son of a family friend – who has cerebral palsy and needs treatment in the USA.
Duncan said: “They are both great causes and will keep a spring in our step. We are motivated by the amount these children have to endure and the treatment they have to undergo to survive serious illness.
“l feel so lucky in life that l have had good health and as a dad watched my family grow up enjoying life too.”
Duncan volunteered his services when he met Joseph’s grandparents, Janet and Alan MacDermid, and heard how he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18 months not long after he emigrated to Sydney with his parents, Ewan and Maree, in 2008.
The MacDermids set up the Scots Australian Children’s Cancer Trust in appreciation of the first-class treatment Joseph received at Sydney Children’s Hospital. He is now recovering, with successive scans showing clear.
Any funds the Trust recieves are chanelled to organisations which provide child cancer services, such as Clic Sargent in Scotland and now World Child Cancer.
Glengoyne already supports SACCT’s efforts with distillery blending tour packages to auction at an annual fund-raising dinner.
Janet said: “We called in to the Glengoyne distillery one night to collect documentation and met Duncan. As soon as we told him about our grandson he offered to do the walk. We were overwhelmed – we can’t thank him and Glengoyne enough.”
Duncan and his family have already raised £800 from among colleagues and friends, including staff and customers at the Kirkhouse Inn in Strathblane and the Old Mill in Killearn.
Ali Clark in the Glengoyne Shop also helped inadvertantly by organising a Grand National sweepstake. After the race he found that none of the horses matched the results and realised he had downloaded last year’s field!
He said: “I thought about the trouble I was going to have giving everyone their money back - and everyone agreed we put the £40 towards Duncan’s walk.”
You can support Duncan through www.justgiving.com/Duncan-McNicoll.