Bo'ness firefighters shave off hair in support of ex-colleague's son after cancer diagnosis

A crew of Bo’ness firefighters shaved off their hair in support of a former colleague’s three-year-old son who was diagnosed with cancer.

By Jonathon Reilly
Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 4:45 pm

Andi Galloway had chopped off his own locks in solidarity with brave toddler, Archie, who lost his hair due to the side effects of chemotherapy.

It came as a big boost to the 43-year-old when five fire officer friends from the amber watch at Bo’ness Fire Station also shaved off their hair to support Archie.

Andi and wife Lisa (42), of Bathgate, West Lothian, received the devastating news their child had leukaemia on March 6 this year.

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Archie Galloway, who was diagnosed with cancer at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland, with dad Andi, a former Bo'ness Fire Station officer.

The diagnosis was delivered as the coronavirus pandemic hit Scotland and it meant Archie starting chemotherapy immediately.

The youngster then faced a second hurdle in spring after getting pneumonia.

Archie has since been chosen to launch a campaign to help save lives.

To Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Archie is launching TK Maxx’s Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, in support of Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People.

Andi and Lisa Galloway are immensely proud of their courageous son Archie who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

His family are urging people to help more children and young people survive the disease by donating pre-loved quality clothes, accessories and homeware they no longer need to their nearest TK Maxx.

For many, the extra time spent at home during the Covid-19 outbreak has provided an opportunity to focus on decluttering, which can now be put to good use.

When sold in Cancer Research UK shops, each bag of items donated could raise up to £25 to help fund dedicated research into children’s and young people’s cancers.

Andi and Lisa are hugely proud of their little boy who needs three years in total of treatment.

Dad Andi, a Station Commander with the Scottish Fire Service, said: “Archie never fails to amaze us.

“This year has been the hardest year of our lives. We have down days and moments when we just think, how are we here?

“But Archie’s incredible bravery and resilience, even during the most difficult times in 2020, has kept us going. He knows he has leukaemia and he’s getting medicine to make it better.

“The doctors have been brilliant. They made it very clear from day one that they’re working towards an achievable goal of curing Archie. We went from the desperation of first hearing the word cancer to hope.”

The couple vividly recall that moment at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children on March 6 when they were told that Archie had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. It was the day before Archie’s sister Leah’s first birthday.

Since last November, Archie had been battling exhaustion, had stopped eating properly and had what was thought at first to be a bad case of tonsillitis.

But at Christmas when Archie was too unwell to even enjoy opening his presents alarm bells rang.

At first it was suspected Archie had a condition known as severe aplastic anaemia which was stopping his immune system from working properly.

He seemed to slowly improve after blood transfusions and antibiotics to treat the infections that were attacking his body.

But it was a hammer blow in March when further tests showed Archie had cancer. It had taken longer to diagnose as doctors believed the cancer had been caught very early.

Now Archie faced a battle with cancer and both his parents were determined to be there every step of the way.

However, as the coronavirus safety restrictions tightened after March 23, only one parent was allowed to stay by his bedside in hospital.

In April, treatment was delayed after Archie got pneumonia. He had surgery to flush his right lung with a saline solution and help his recovery.

Lisa said: “Archie would ask, ‘what’s wrong with my body?’

“We had to put our trust 100 per cent in the doctors and know they’d make him better. When we were in hospital over Christmas, Archie’s dad and I were both there to support Archie and each other.

“But when Covid-19 hit, the hospital rules changed and only one parent could stay with each child. The toy room closed and you had to isolate in one room.

“It was a strange, worrying and lonely time. Archie would say to us, ‘everything is closed because of Covid’.

“He’s a sociable boy and he missed going to toddler group to see friends. We couldn’t believe how many people in the community actually pulled together to help us.”

Today Archie is recovering well. If all goes to plan, he should start maintenance chemotherapy this month to keep the leukaemia in remission and complete treatment in spring 2022 before starting school.

Lisa Adams, spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People, said: “We’re grateful to the Galloway family for their support during these unprecedented times.

“The truth is Covid-19 has slowed us down, but we will never stop. Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer, to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience.

“That’s why it needs different, dedicated research which campaigns like Give Up Clothes for Good help to fund.

“We want to help more children and young people survive cancer with a good quality of life. We hope as many people as possible will help to get our life-saving research back on track by donating any quality clothes or goods at their local TK Maxx store.”

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