Stenhousemuir cancer fighter raises £50,000 for Maggie's Forth Valley

A terminally ill dad has broken through his £50,000 fundraising target for a cancer support service — and pleaded with the public to continue following lockdown guidelines.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 14th May 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 9:34 am

Stenhousemuir man Cameron Shanks (59), best known as Cammy, began supporting the work of Maggie’s Forth Valley as a way of thanking its staff for all of their help after he was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer last April and told he had just six to ten months left to live.

Incredibly, the dad-of-two has gone on to defy doctors’ predictions and collect just shy of £50,500 for the Larbert-based centre.

A 470-kilometre cycle from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia completed by Cammy’s close friend Dale Martin helped to take the total past the £50,000 mark.

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Cammy Shanks, pictured with dog Ty, has hit his £50,000 fundraising target for Maggie's Forth Valley. Picture: Michael Gillen.

To add to the difficulties of the fundraising challenge, the eight-day cycle was finished just in time before coronavirus lockdown restrictions came into effect in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Ex-police dog handler Cammy is thrilled to have been supported by friends, family and colleagues on the way to reaching his fundraising milestone.

However, as someone who is in the at-risk category, he is now desperate for others to obey the lockdown guidance issued from Holyrood so he and wife Claire are soon able to resume making memories with his children Kayleigh and Kieran, step-children Rhys and Linzie and one-year-old granddaughter Emily.

At the outbreak of the lockdown, Cammy was given the positive news he would continue to receive Herceptin injections at The Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow.

Cammy and Claire Shanks are hugely grateful to Maggie's Forth Valley for all of its support. Picture: Michael Gillen.

He said: “Time is not on the side of many thousands like me, so the more we adhere to the Scottish Government’s advice the better so that we, like everyone else, have something to look forward to sooner rather than later.

“Like everyone else I’m finding it tough just now, especially not seeing my family, but we are doing it for the right reasons.”

A range of fundraisers enabled Cammy to hit his huge target, including a disco at the Beancross Restaurant and Hotel in Grangemouth, charity cycles and runs, a Three Peaks Challenge by police officers and the formation of the Cammy Shanks Burns Club.

The final Vietnam-Cambodia fundraising challenge was backed by students and staff at the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan where Cammy and Dale were recent colleagues, having initially struck up a friendship working within Central Scotland Police.

Bonnybridge resident Dale said: “Cammy’s a very good friend of mine and I went to all his charity events. I thought, ‘He’s nearly at £50,000 so if I ask my students, staff and family members for donations then I can reach it’.

“I was devastated when he phoned me to tell me the news about his diagnosis but the way he hasn’t let it get to him is inspiring.”

Caring for his German Shepherd, Ty, who is recovering from a spinal disc issue has also provided Cammy with a welcome distraction.

Thanking Broadleys Veterinary Hospital in Stirling for helping his pet, he added: “It’s giving me a focus, looking after him.

“He’s getting better food than me!”