Teenager Rhudi Baume was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 13, after suffering from unbearable headaches for almost a year.
Three years later, he is a true survivor – and well and truly kicking back at the disease by raising thousands of pounds for charity through football tournaments.
So far Rhudi, from Strathblane, has collected almost £5500 for the Brain Tumour Charity.
The inspirational youngster handed over a cheque recently to charity committee member Katie Grier from Kilsyth, the proceeds from his second five a side competition at the Allander Leisure Centre.
More than 120 players, friends and family turned up to show their support.
Rhudi’s mum Christine said: “Rhudi has made it his lifetime goal to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours which sadly are often misdiagnosed.
“His diagnosis was such a shock.
“Thankfully, after surgery at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a long road to recovery, he is back at school and doing well.
“Rhudi is very hopeful that one day in the future we can have a quick diagnosis pathway and work towards better treatment options.
“Ten children and teenagers are diagnosed with a brain tumour every week in the UK and early diagnosis can save lives.”
Last month, the inspirational teenager was invited to the Scottish Parliament to give MSPs a personal account of his journey from diagnosis.
Miles Briggs MSP, chair of the cross-party group on cancer, hosted a discussion on brain tumours bringing together researchers, clinicians, patients and carers with the goal of improving outcomes for patients in Scotland.
Minister for Public Health, Aileen Campbell MSP, acknowledged improvements in brain tumour awareness, patient experience and research were needed.
Rhudi, whose tumour was in the cerebellum, a vital part of the brain responsible for motor control, told his story and participated in the two-and-a-half-hour debate.
A steering group is now being established to drive action across all fronts in the fight against the disease.
Rhudi said: “It was a privilege to be in a position to help. Many are not so lucky.
“I want to raise awareness with as many people as possible of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours.
“I was told by many health professionals that my headaches were normal for a boy my age. Even when my symptoms escalated to vomiting, nose bleeds, and being unable to sleep lying down, my symptoms were still not picked up on.
“Not one health professional ever mentioned that persistent headaches could possibly be a symptom of a brain tumour.
“I spoke to five excellent health professionals over many months before I was first diagnosed in A&E, largely by luck.
“I know first-hand how critical early diagnosis is to survival and quality of life.”
Miles Briggs said: “Brain tumours are a cancer of unmet need but, by working together, I believe we can improve outcomes.”
Thanks to the meeting, a policy white paper will provide recommendations to the Scottish Government on how early diagnosis and patient experience can be advanced.
This will form the basis of the work the Brain Tumour Charity will continue to campaign on in Scotland.
In the UK each year, more than 500 children and young people will face a brain tumour diagnosis.
According to the charity, they are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40, yet less than two per cent of funding goes towards research.
The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts.
They fund pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options as well as raising awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours.
The charity also provides support for everyone affected so that they can live as full a life as possible.
Geraldine Pipping, the charity’s head of fundraising, said: “Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years.
“We are leading the way in changing this by fighting brain tumours on all fronts.
“We receive no government funding and rely 100 per cent on voluntary donations.
“So it’s only through the efforts of people like Rhudi that we can change these shocking statistics in the future.”