Former Lenzie Academy pupil recognised in New Year Honours List

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A FORMER cancer patient has been recognised in the New Year Honours List after helping raise nearly £3million for a life-saving oncology centre.

Alan Kilpatrick (47), who grew up in Lenzie, teamed up with Ian Dickson in 1995 to create the Friends of the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

Both men have now been awarded the British Empire Medal for their services to the welfare of people with cancer.

Alan, a former Lenzie Primary and Lenzie Academy pupil whose parents and brother still live in the area, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 19 while studying accountancy at Glasgow University.

He said: “I was aware of a swelling, but it took me a while to go to the doctor - which in hindsight was a mistake.

“I was very embarrassed and didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. I was later told that I had left it almost too late.

“I went to my GP in Kirkintilloch and within three days I was in Stobhill Hospital having surgery.

“There were then lots of checks and a few weeks later I was told that they had found a secondary cancer, so I was sent to the Beatson for several courses of chemotherapy.

“The treatment took from around January to April to complete. In my graduation pictures you can see the hair loss from the treatment.”

Alan eventually got the all-clear, but while visiting the Beatson as an out-patient during one of his regular check-ups, he asked how he could get involved in fundraising work.

He was put in touch with charity TAKTENT - now called Cancer Support Scotland - where he met fellow testicular cancer survivor Ian Dickson.

He said: “We realised that there wasn’t an active parallel fundraising charity for the Beatson and that was the start of it.

“We decided to try and provide something extra for patients to make them a little more comfortable while receiving treatment.”

Since then the charity has funded a wide range of “extras”, including two hydrotherapy baths, over 70 specialised electronic beds, a special spinal compression bed, private rooms for critically ill patients, TVs and CD players for wards.

In 2007 they opened the Friends of the Beatson Centre on the fourth floor of the Beatson building.

It offers patients everything from aromatherapy and massage to hairdressing and beauty treatments.

The cash to fund the centre and its staff is raised through a number of regular and one-off events, including an annual sporting dinner, pro-am golf tournaments, and sponsored runs.

Dad-of-two Alan, who also works full-time as a regional director for Moodiesburn company Devro, will receive the honour later this year.

He said: “I am thrilled and humbled by it.

“The award is fantastic, not just for myself and Ian, but for all the people who have helped raise almost £3million for the charity, which now spends around £30,000 every month to help those receiving vital treatment.”

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