A KILBARCHAN dad who was diagnosed with cancer a decade ago is supporting a new campaign to raise awareness of the disease.

Graeme Dickie, 52, was told he had lung cancer in 2013 and, last year, scans identified a neuroendocrine tumour, which is treatable.

He has recently started receiving a new drug, which he is responding well to.

The dad-of-three spoke about his cancer journey as the Beatson Cancer Charity brought an information bus to Renfrewshire as part of its regional awareness campaign.

The Gazette:

The new initiative, dubbed ‘Together Along the Way,’ offers an information service to the local community as the charity works towards ensuring no-one goes through cancer alone.

Graeme told how he was eager to go back to work as an electrical engineer after he was first diagnosed but, instead, has been able to help out as a volunteer for the Beatson Cancer Charity.

“I was engaged with the Specialist Health and Work Service (SHAWS) for a period of time because they were helping me deal with the challenge of getting ready to get back into the workplace," he said.

"I used the SHAWS facility for a while and was on their ‘return to work’ programme.

“Unfortunately, I never went back to work and I’ve just continued volunteering. I was 42 when I was diagnosed, so you’re still very much right in the middle of your career. A huge factor you’ve got to consider is the impact on your work.”

Graeme said the charity has been an enormous help to him since being diagnosed with cancer.

“The biggest benefit is just being able to engage with services that can help support me and my family," he added.

“Even just getting involved with some of the fundraising activities, it’s maybe helped my kids accept how we’re managing it.

“Whether it’s using the wellbeing services or SHAWS, it helps normalise living with cancer.

"You can still go out and you can still do some fundraising events. You can go for walks and do activities as a family. It helps you do those things and gives you the confidence to do so.

“It’s not just about the patient, it’s the impact on your own family as well.

"My youngest, he was only five when I was first diagnosed, so he’s grown up with it and that’s really all he’s known.

"You’ve got to look beyond the patient – sometimes it’s a partner, parents or the children to have that engagement and support there for.”

The Beatson Bus is starting a campaign tour in Renfrewshire and will then be rolled out across other parts of the west of Scotland later this year.

The launch was staged in partnership with First Bus, which has gifted the charity a customised double-decker vehicle.

This will mean the charity’s key messages can be seen and heard in communities across the area.

The bus has been transformed with a bright yellow look, to match the Beatson brand.

Last year, the Beatson Cancer Charity supported 59 people in Renfrewshire through its telephone befriending service and 44 people through its outreach services.

It is able to help cancer patients with the likes of employment rights and advice on benefits, as well as providing bereavement support.

More than 40 of the volunteers who helped the charity last year were from Renfrewshire.

Charity staff and volunteers will be available on the bus to give information on the services offered and signpost people who require support.

The Gazette:

Martin Cawley, CEO of the Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We’re delighted to be growing awareness in areas across the west of Scotland and making sure patients and families are familiar with the services we offer.

“Around 35,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in Scotland. We want to make sure that, when people are affected by cancer, they know what support is available to them.”

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Bus Scotland, added: “We love the design of the bright yellow Beatson bus wrap and it will definitely catch the eye when it is out and about.”

A photoshoot for the launch of the Beatson Bus took place at Glasgow Airport, with Ronald Leitch, the airport's operations director, arranging special permission for the vehicle to use the runway.

The bus will make an appearance at Lilias Day, in Kilbarchan, on Saturday, June 3, with further visits planned to Braehead Shopping Centre, in Renfrew, on Thursday, June 29, and Friday, June 30, as well as the Decathalon Braehead store on Saturday, July 15.

For more information visit beatsoncancercharity.org/beatson-bus.