A family from Renfrewshire are taking part in Beatson Cancer Charity’s ‘Off the Beatson Track’ event for the nineth year in a row, in memory of their dad who passed away after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
44-year-old Felicity Gillespie and her family have taken part every year after her dad, Brian McLaughlin, sadly died in 2015 aged 70.
On Brian’s 70th birthday he asked for the family to take part in the first Off the Beatson Track event in 2014, which he also completed.
The family raised over £10,000 in the first year and have since raised over £34,000.
Around 30 family members from Paisley, Johnstone, Blantyre and Hamilton will be taking part this year.
The 10k walk has seen over 11,000 participants walk over 70,000 miles over the years – making it Glasgow’s biggest sponsored walk.
It’s been a virtual walk for the last two years but is back as a live event on Sunday 28th August, which STV’s Laura Boyd and BBC’s David Farrell will be hosting.
PICTURED: Felicity Gillespie and her family with dogs Bonnie and Molly
Felicity, from Brookfield, Johnstone, said: “Back in 2014 our dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and one of his wishes was that we take part in the walk just to give back to The Beatson for the care that he received during his treatment and right up until his end of life.
“Giving back and giving your time to charity is really rewarding as well, so it makes you feel really good and hopefully it makes our dad proud that we’re doing that and continue to do it to this day as a family.
“I just love leading up to it and spending time as a family and raising funds for the Beatson because they really did do a wonderful job looking after our dad and caring for him and gave us extra time with him.”
Those taking part in the event will be given a free Off the Beatson Track t-shirt after signing up, and a medal at the end for completing it too.
The event will start at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and go past the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre on Great Western Road, via Kelvingrove Museum and back to the Riverside Museum to finish.
Felicity’s brother Stephen McLaughlin also takes part in the event every year with the rest of the family.
PICTURED: Stephen McLaughlin and his wife with dog Buddy
The 48-year old, also from Brookfield, said: “As a family we’re spread all over Scotland so we only ever get together at birthdays or weddings so it’s another opportunity for us to get together and remember my dad.
“We have nieces, nephews, cousins, aunties – every generation of our family comes along. We’ve got 20 nieces and nephews now so there’s lots of kids and there’s lots of dogs, so it really is a great family day for it.
“Lots of people who do the walk have their own personal reasons for doing it. You see some heartbreaking stories when you’re walking about but it’s the sense of pride that everybody has, the determination that they have to do the walk, and it’s just a real sense of community.
“You’re there with people who are going through the same thing as you or have been through the same thing as you, and I think it’s just part of the healing process as well where you just feel a bit of community with the people that do the walk.”
PICTURED: Bonnie, Molly, Roxy and Cyrus looking pawsome in their Beatson Bandanas for Off the Beatson Track
Maisie McCormick, community fundraising manager at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We’re delighted to finally be able to host our first live Off the Beatson Track event since 2019.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who took part in the virtual walks over the last two years, but we can’t wait to see a sea of yellow take to the streets of Glasgow once again.
“Every single person who signs up is allowing us to support more cancer patients and their families over the years to come, and we cannot thank you enough for that.”
For more information or to sign up to the event click here.