Allandale family reach top of Ben Nevis in memory of Chris Fairley (31)

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A family’s bid to reach the summit of Ben Nevis in memory of their son, brother and nephew was successful at the weekend – and raised over £1300 for charity.

Christopher Fairley was only 31 when he died on March 25 this year.

He had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, in May 2018.

The chemotherapy stopped working before the end of his treatment plan and sadly in February this year doctors broke the news that there was nothing more they could do and he died a few weeks later in Glasgow’s Beatson Cancer Unit.

Chris, who qualified as a maths teacher shortly before he died, was born and brought up in Cumbernauld and had previously worked for the company which publishes The Falkirk Herald.

He enjoyed walking and had completed the West Highland Way with his mum two years ago. However, although walking up Ben Nevis was on his bucket list, he sadly never had an opportunity to tackle the challenge.

His parents, Helen and Alastair, who live in Allandale, decided they would do the walk in his memory and on Saturday together with daughters, Lisa and Lyndsay and their partners, Helen’s brother and Alastair’s cousin, they headed for the summit of Scotland’s highest mountain.

Afterwards Helen said: “We all managed to reach the top although some of us had never tackled anything like this before. The route was very busy with others heading up and near the summit the weather was very cold and wet. We even had hailstones at one stage.

“But we were all delighted to achieve what we set out to do and cannot thank everyone who donated enough for their generosity.

“Chris would have been so proud.”

All the money raised will go to the charity Sarcoma UK.

Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that affects bones or tissue around bones. It is mainly found in children and young people, with most cases diagnosed in those aged ten to 20.

Every year 5300 people are found to have the condition.

However, it can also be very difficult to diagnose. Some people wait as long as 18 months before being referred for a diagnosis.

Chris had been visiting his GP for seven months and had several tests before the cause of his pain and other symptoms were discovered.

Now the Fairley family are keen to raise as much awareness as possible by supporting the charity in whatever way they can and by telling their story.

Bevis Man, communications director at Sarcoma UK said: “Anyone with experience of sarcoma knows how complex the diagnostic process can be.

“With more than 100 different subtypes, the situation can be made more difficult by the fact that a sarcoma does not always present externally on the surface of the skin.

“The earlier sarcoma is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment. Sarcoma can be devastating for patients and their loved ones and a swift accurate diagnosis not only allows for treatment to begin as soon as possible, but for people to start planning and processing the next stages of their lives.”

*Sarcoma UK Support Line is here for anyone affected by sarcoma. Phone 0808 801 0401 or email: supportline@sarcoma.org.uk.