A young Bishopbriggs woman is stepping up to help a cancer care centre which got her through the most traumatic time of her life.
Cancer survivor Francesca Mancini (20) is joining walkers in Glasgow in August to raise funds for the Beatson Centre.
When Francesca suffered fatigue and pain in the joints of her fingers last year, doctors at first diagnosed the then 19-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis.
Discovering she had a long-term chronic illness causing pain, swelling and stiffness was bad enough.
But a month later, in March 2015, the young university student was then given the devastating news that the diagnosis was wrong - and she was in fact suffering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma - a cancer of the lymphatic system.
She told the Herald: “When the doctors gave me a chest X-ray before I started treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, they discovered a shadow on my lung which turned out to be a mass.”
Francesca had to have a major operation to remove a tumour the size of a grapefruit from her chest. After that, and 14 weeks of gruelling chemotherapy at the Beatson in Glasgow, which caused her to lose her lovely locks, the courageous young woman bounced back.
All was going well for the Biomedical Science student at Edinburgh University, until December last year when she had a relapse.
She said: “I had two rounds of chemo which put me back into remission but doctors said to keep me in remission, I had to have a stem cell transplant.
“This meant I had to be in complete isolation. I have been in hospital for most of this year.”
She is now out of hospital and told the Herald this week she “is good” and has just returned home from a family holiday in Italy.
As a thank you to the dedicated doctors and nurses at the Beatson, the former Bishopbriggs Academy pupil, whose aunt Daniela Lawson owns Cafe Barga in Lennoxtown, is raising funds for patients and families using the facility.
The fundraising walk called “Off the Beatson Track takes place on August 28 through Glasgow’s West End.
Francesca even managed to get in some training for the six-and a half-mile sponsored walk. She said: “When I was away, I did a two-hour hike. I reckoned if I could do that, I can do the six-and-a-half-mile walk!”
To join the family-friendly walk which takes in some of the iconic sights of the West End, including the Riverside Museum, or to donate, visit http:// www.beatsoncancercharity.org/get-involved/events/off-the-beatson-track