Father and daughter will launch Race For Life in Falkirk

Most wee girls are the apple of their dad's eye, even when they are all grown up and have their own children.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 21st May 2018, 1:00 pm
Family outing...Murray and Molly will join their papa Bernie Murray and mum Angela Stewart to start the Race For Life in Falkirk on Father's Day.  (Pic: Michael Gillen)
Family outing...Murray and Molly will join their papa Bernie Murray and mum Angela Stewart to start the Race For Life in Falkirk on Father's Day. (Pic: Michael Gillen)

It would be fair to say that Angela Stewart and her dad Bernie Murray are particularly close though.

And they will celebrate that bond when they launch the Race For Life 5K and 10K events at Callendar Park in Falkirk on Father’s Day – Sunday, June 17.

It’s a particularly poignant date for them both as Bernie wasn’t sure he’d be here to see Father’s Day in 2018.

Tribute...Angela got this tattoo in tribute to her mum and dad and all they've gone through as a family. Bernie loved it so much, he's getting the same design, with the word survivor instead of dad, as a birthday treat! (Pic: Michael Gillen)

For in May last year, the 62-year-old was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was facing the prospect of a 12 hour operation to remove the tumour.

Bernie had the operation last July at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, before undergoing six months of chemotherapy.

“This time last year, I didn’t expect to still be here,” he said. “I had been feeling unwell for over a year when I was sent for a colonoscopy and they found the tumour.

“When I went to get the results, I thought it was just another check up – I wasn’t expecting to get that kind of news. I was in shock.

“A lot of things go through your mind – it puts everything into perspective.

“But the surgeons, doctors and nurses at Forth Valley did a fantastic job and we also had a lot of support from Macmillan nurses.”

Luckily, Bernie had lots of family support too – from his wife Margaret (60), their daughters Marie Martin (42) and Angela (35) and her husband John Stewart.

Bernie, who works as a clerk at the Asda depot in Grangemouth, was also cheered every step of the way by his grandchildren – Molly, Murray, Natasha, Michael and Wallace.

And in March this year, much to the whole family’s delight, Bernie was given the all-clear.

He said: “We went through some scary times.

“If it wasn’t for my wife, my daughters and the rest of the family, I wouldn’t have got through it.

“But we’re out the other side now. It’s a new life.”

Happily, the family are all looking forward to a fresh start but they’ll never forget the support they received in their darkest hours.

In February this year, Angela, who lives in Denny, staged a charity brides ball in Grangemouth Town Hall as a way of giving back.

Women donned their old wedding dresses and helped to raise £1010 for Cancer Research UK in the process.

As a result, Angela – who is a waitress and freelance artist – was invited to sound the horn at this year’s Race For Life in Falkirk, with her dad Bernie and wee ones Molly (7)and Murray (5) taking centre stage too.

Angela said: “When they first asked me, I was a bit apprehensive but, after speaking to my family and friends, I realised it was an honour to be asked.

“Last Father’s Day, dad was just about to have surgery and chemotherapy.

“This year he’s well again which feels like all my Christmases and birthdays rolled into one.

“He’s always been there for me and is adored by his grandchildren – it will be lovely to share this very special day with them.”

The rest of the family will be there to cheer them on too.

Angela, Margaret and Molly have also decided to take part in this year’s Race For Life, with Bernie pledging to join them next year.

He explained: “I’m waiting on a hernia operation at the moment which developed after last year’s operation.

“It’s only keyhole surgery this time though so I’m hoping to get back to full fitness soon.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to normal. I was reasonably fit before – I did a lot of walking and cycling.

“It will be fantastic to line up next year with Margaret, Angela and Molly to take on the Race For Life – it’s our way of saying thanks.”

Bernie is also preparing for an extra special birthday treat on July 14.

Angela got a tattoo done in her dad’s honour after his successful treatment.

She said: “I’ve got a few tattoos already but I wasn’t sure mum and dad were going to like it.

“I hadn’t told anyone I was getting it done and it’s not like I could take it off!

“It’s my tribute to them and how proud I am of how they coped with everything.”

In fact, Bernie was so taken with it that he’s now planning to get inked too!

He added: “I loved it so I’m going to get the same design done but with the word survivor instead of dad.”

* Bernie would like to say thank you to all his work colleagues and neighbours, Margaret and George Huskie in Hawley Road, Falkirk, for their support – both during and after his treatment.

Funding research for a cure

Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies on the public’s support. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend more than £34 million last year in Scotland on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research – helping more men, women and children survive the disease.

Glasgow is home to the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute where an exciting programme of work has been established to look for ways to tailor treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Researchers in Glasgow and Edinburgh are also trying to develop new drugs to target an aggressive type of brain tumour – neuroblastoma.

In Edinburgh the charity funds world-class researchers, including a team at the MRC human genetics unit who are leading research into the genetic and environmental causes of bowel cancer.

This important work is taking us a step closer to tests that could detect people at higher risk of the disease so they can be offered tailored advice, screening and treatment to improve survival rates.

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before.

Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, half marathon and hiking events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer sooner by funding crucial research.

The Falkirk 5K and 10K events will be held on Sunday, June 17. To enter, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.