Banknock dad’s 24-hour fundraising effort for Maggie’s

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A grateful dad is putting himself through a gruelling challenge to raise funds for a charity which gives his family vital support.

Stewart Keating and wife Fiona were devastated when their only child, Megan (23), was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year.

Since then the vivacious young woman has undergone a barrage of treatment, mostly at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

While being treated by oncology staff it was suggested the nearby Maggie’s Centre could provide Megan and her parents with its unique support.

Stewart (43) said: “We came down and it’s just been amazing. We’ve had so much help. When something like this happens you just don’t know where to turn.

“Maggie’s has been a fantastic source of help and support for my daughter, but they have also provided help with financial services, counselling etc.

“It’s an amazing place for not just Megan but family too. We can pop in for tea and a biscuit or to take part in various activities or just for a chat. I cannot thank the people at Maggie’s enough for all their help and support.”

Now Stewart, who lives with his family in Banknock, is preparing to push himself to the limits to raise money for Maggie’s Forth Valley.

He plans to take part in next month’s Edinburgh 24 Challenge which will see him spend a day running round a 5k loop in the capital’s Holyrood Park.

His aim is to run 100 miles during the 24 hours, only taking a five minute break each hour.

Stewart, who hoped to raise £1000 but has already reached £2200, tackled a similar 24 hour running event before. “That time I ran 70 miles after taking a five hour break during the night. This time I’m hoping to make the 100 mark by only taking the short breaks.”

A signaller with Network Rail, he is being put through his paces by former Royal Marine commando Neil MacNicol of RunRecover.

Megan had just completed an Art and Design BA(Hons) at Forth Valley College when she discovered a lump on her neck which was eventually diagnosed as Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

After her chemotherapy and other treatment is completed the former Denny High pupil would like to be a film set designer.

She says her dad is “mental” to be attempting his challenge. Her mum is also running on the day for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity and Megan plans to be there cheering both on, returning the support they – and Maggie’s – have given her.

Christina Pouso, fundraising manager at Maggie’s Forth Valley, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be supporting Stewart with his challenge and know he’s been training hard.

“As an independent charity Maggie’s relies on donations from the local community to support and grow its network of centres.

“Money raised by Stewart will help us make the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends across Forth Valley.”