Olympic torch brings beacon of hope to Cumbernauld family

Cancer survivor Catherine Dickson with son Daniel, who is 13 on June 13 when the Olympic Torch passes through Cumbernauld
Cancer survivor Catherine Dickson with son Daniel, who is 13 on June 13 when the Olympic Torch passes through Cumbernauld

THE visit of the Olympic Torch next Wednesday (June 13) has special significance for one Carbrain woman and her family.

Mother of five Caroline Dickson feels the torch visit, on son Daniel’s 13th birthday is more than coincidence.

To her, it symbolises a new dawn for her and her family after the torment of a cancer ordeal.

“It was early in the year,” said Caroline (48). “I’d gone into Hairmyres hospital for a routine scan when they found a tumour in my kidney.

“I was given a surgery date of May 3, but they contacted me to say there had been a cancellation and asked if I’d prefer to get the operation on April 3.”

Caroline had to undergo invasive abdominal surgery as there was no guarantee a keyhole operation would remove all of the cancerous material.

She said: “They had to make sure they could get everything out and having major surgery was nasty. I remember waking up with all these tubes sticking out of my neck and side, which I hadn’t expected to be there.”

But the operation was hailed a complete success, and Caroline was able to rebuild her life without needing to endure chemotherapy or radiotherapy. She has even been able to retain part of the kidney operated on.

“The surgeon told me he was confident that all of the cancer had been removed,” she said.

But the ordeal took its toll, both physically and psychologically, particularly as Caroline’s own father died from the disease.

“At the end I didn’t even recognise him because he had deteriorated so much,” she said.

“So I did think about what would happen if I didn’t survive, and talked to my children about it.”

Caroline is grateful for the support all her relatives gave her during this time, from the eldest to the youngest.

“While I was in the hospital my grandkids were wonderful. They are too young to understand what was happening, so while I could always see they were worried, the grandchildren were happy and smiling,” she said.

Among it all has been young Daniel, who has selflessly helped his mum recover from her surgery. She said: “Daniel has done so much for me – cooking, cleaning and washing up. He’s been like my mini carer, and when he goes to bed he always tells me to call for him if I need anything.”

Daniel added: “Sometimes mum can’t even get out the house before the pain hits her. But she is getting better.”

So, as the torch passes through Cumbernauld, one family will have more reasons than most to celebrate this once in a lifetime event.