Family's big step forward in memory Falkirk FC fan Nicola
Family and friends stepped out to remember a much-loved young woman at the weekend and raise awareness of the cancer which killed her.
Nicola Thomson was only 25 when she died on June 2, 2013, only months after she first had symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
Tragically her daughter Ciara was only four years old when Nicola, who worked in Tesco’s store in Grangemouth died.
She also left behind mum Wendy, dad Ian, brother Chris and his wife Laura.
Over the years the family have carried out lots of fundraising for the charity Pancreatic Cancer UK.
However, in 2021 they decided lots of people were having a tough time in the pandemic and instead they would take part in the charity’s Big Step Forward event to raise awareness of its work.
Over 150 people across Scotland took part in similar events at the same time.
Over 20 of Nicola’s loved ones started their walk at Falkirk Stadium and stepped out for four miles around the Helix Park.
Dad Ian, 57, a shift supervisor at Grangemouth refinery, said: “Nicola was a great Falkirk fan. She was a cheerleader at one stage and hardly ever missed a game. It seemed the right place to start from.”
Ciara now lives with Nicola’s brother and his wife near Glasgow and is about to start secondary school.
Their little boy Ivor celebrated his fourth birthday on the day of the walk but the family were so determined to take part in the awareness raising event that they held his party the week before.
Ian, from Old Polmont, added: “Nicola first had symptoms in December 2012 but the doctors thought it was noravirus.
"She had further tests in the January and we were on holiday when she got told it was pancreatic cancer. Of course we rushed back but it was so unexpected.
"Pancreatic cancer is known as the old person’s disease which is why it was so unusual for someone of Nicola’s age to be diagnosed.
"But that’s why it’s important to raise awareness of the symptoms.”
Around 850 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year in Scotland and survival rates have not improved in over 50 years.
There are no screening programmes or simple tests to detect pancreatic cancer and its vague symptoms, including weight-loss, back-pain and indigestion, make it very difficult for doctors to diagnose.
To find out more visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk.