A brave mum with terminal cancer says she is living each day as if it’s her last as her community rallies round to make her final days special.
Christine Russell (43) from Slamannan was told last June that her bowel cancer was terminal and was given six months to live.
The mother-of-two is currently undergoing chemotherapy to contain the cancer, which spread to her liver and lungs, but it will not cure her – a cold, hard fact she has come to terms with in her own humorous, down-to-earth style.
She now has two goals she wants to reach before her time comes to an end – to create special memories with her daughters, Margo (25) and Melissa (14), and raise as much awareness of the illness as she can.
But she is not doing it alone. The Slamannan community has stepped up to the plate and organised events to help meet funeral costs and trips from her modest “bucket list” that she can enjoy with her two girls.
Christine has already been on a ghost tour in Edinburgh and seen the Circus of Horrors at the Town Hall, while other wishes include swimming with sharks, days out in Strathclyde Park and Blackpool and a night in a haunted house.
She said: “The ghost trip at Mary King’s Close was amazing, but I was quite annoyed I didn’t see any ghosts. I was looking for evidence of life after death,” she joked.
“The support we have had from everyone in Slamannan has been fantastic. My family and I are so grateful for everything. It makes things a wee bit better to know so many people care.
“The worst thing for me is leaving behind my two girls, it’s a horrible thought. I want to savour every moment with them from now on.”
Christine is on a mission to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer. She said: “I had symptoms before I went to the doctor. I had blood and a sore tailbone but thought it wasn’t serious.
“I went to the doctor in February and the cancer wasn’t diagnosed until June, but by that time it was too late. If it had been diagnosed sooner I might have had a chance.
“I’m taking part in clinical trials to help research into hereditary cancer, anything I can do to help I will do.
“I want to make people aware that if there is something wrong they need to get it checked out before it’s too late for them.”