52-year old Graeme Dickie from Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013. He has been receiving treatment at The Beatson’s satellite centre in Inverclyde for the last decade, after it was discovered his cancer had progressed to stage 4 in 2017. Graeme’s scans last year identified a Neuroendocrine tumour, which is treatable. He has recently moved onto receiving a new drug which he is responding well to.
Graeme was eager to go back to work as an electrical engineer after he was first diagnosed, but he has now been receiving treatment for a decade, so volunteers for Beatson Cancer Charity when he is able to.
Graeme, who has three kids, said: “I wanted to see how fit I was for going back to work so the oncologist put me in touch with some of the volunteering options.
"I met with Paul Sheerin who was the volunteer engagement officer at the time and signed up to help out. I was working in the office with the supporter care team or sometimes at the reception.
"I was just using it as a platform, as a stepping stone to getting back to work.
"I was engaged with the Specialist Health and Work Service team for a period of time because they were helping me deal with the challenge of getting ready to get back into the workplace. I used the SHAWS facility for a while and was on their ‘return to work’ programme.
“Unfortunately, I never went back to work and I’ve just continued volunteering. I was 42 when I was diagnosed so you’re still very much right in the middle of your career, so it’s a huge factor you’ve got to consider is the impact on your work.”
PICTURED: Graeme Dickie with our Beatson Bus
Graeme says Beatson Cancer Charity has had a huge impact on his life since being diagnosed with cancer.
He said: “The biggest benefit is just being able to engage with services that can help support me and my family.
“Even just getting involved with some of the fundraising activities, it’s maybe helped my kids accept how we’re managing it.
"My son’s helped out at piping at some events and we did the Kiltwalk for Beatson Cancer Charity in 2019.
“Whether it’s using the Wellbeing services or SHAWS - it helps normalise living with cancer. You can still go out and you can still do some fundraising events. You can go for walks and do activities as a family. It helps you do those things and gives you the confidence to do so.
"It's not just about the patient it’s the impact its got on your own family as well. My youngest, he was only 5 when I was first diagnosed, so he’s grown up with it. And that’s really all he’s known.
"Although I'm not working, the last image I want to put across to my kids is you don’t shy away from any challenges, you just take it on board.
"There's still things that you can do. You just don’t become lazy and sit back and expect everything to land on a plate. You’ve got to look beyond the patient sometimes – sometimes it’s a partner, a wife, the children to have that engagement and support there for. The Beatson’s like a family.
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