Terminally ill Stenhousemuir dad's new kitman role - two years after cancer diagnosis
A Stenhousemuir man who was told he had just six months to live two years ago hopes the latest chapter of his remarkable tale will inspire others.
Cameron Shanks received the devastating news he had terminal stomach cancer in April 2019.
Best known as Cammy, the 60-year-old has defied the doctor’s prognosis and gone on to raise almost £60,000 for Maggie’s Forth Valley, a charity which has helped the ex-police dog handler through his darkest days.
In that time, he’s also served as the kitman for boyhood club Camelon Juniors. Cammy was even given his debut in the dugout at Carmuirs Park and presided over a 9-1 thrashing of Craigroyston.
However, the dad-of-two has now agreed to take on a new challenge as kitman at Dunipace FC, following difficulties off the pitch at The Mariners.
Discussing how his move to Westfield Park materialised, Cammy said: “At Camelon, we played our last game against Brora Rangers at Dunipace.
“I was in the police in Denny for four years and used to do discos at Dunipace so I used to go and watch them.
“When I was there I was speaking to a few of the people, like Paul Garner, and just happened to mention to him in a jokey way, ‘If you’re ever looking for a kitman, give me a shout’.
“About a week ago he texted me and asked if I was being serious. I said, ‘Absolutely’.
“He went to the committee and I'm led to believe they didn’t have a kitman. They didn’t have to ask me twice.”
Although matters at Camelon might not have ended how he envisaged, Cammy knows there’s more to life than football and has showered praise on the club for giving him his chance.
He continued: “I absolutely loved my job at Camelon but things started developing.
“There were a lot of allegations of things going on behind the scenes and it resulted in the manager being sacked and players deciding they weren’t going to play.
“I just felt I couldn’t really stay. Leaving Camelon was a disappointment because that was my club.
“I don’t want to sound bitter because I’m really grateful for the opportunity.
“I’d like to thank Camelon for their offer and the opportunity to do the job. Unfortunately, circumstances dictated I couldn’t continue in the role.
“The fact I’m still here, hopefully it gives hope to people in this position. Two years ago on Monday I was told I had six months to live. The head goes down and you panic but here I am.
“I went to The Beatson last week and my bloods are back to normal for the first time in the last two years. Whilst it’s still not curable, it’s treatable and you’ve just got to live every day one at a time.”
Stevie Tait, Dunipace secretary, said: “We are delighted Cammy is joining us as kitman at Dunipace Football Club.
“Having met with him, I could tell how much he was looking forward to getting started and hopefully that will be soon, when football at our level can recommence.
“Cammy’s personality is infectious and I know he will be another great asset to have around the club. His attitude and battle against his illness is inspiring and his willingness to enjoy life is apparent.”