Mum tackles fear of heights in charity balloon ride

From left, Maggie's Centre head Andrew Anderson, fundraising organiser Amy Robertson and Carol Maguire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

From left, Maggie's Centre head Andrew Anderson, fundraising organiser Amy Robertson and Carol Maguire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A MOTHER-of-two will tackle her lifelong fear of heights by taking a hot air balloon ride to raise money for a centre which helped her to cope when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Carol Maguire, who lives in Gullane, with partner Bill Hudson and her sons Conor, 19, and Kieran, 17, received the devastating news on Christmas Eve 2013.

Her optician had raised some concerns at a previous appointment, so Carol went for a CT scan at the Western General Hospital which confirmed that she had a brain tumour.

The following months were 
dominated by major surgery, intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy as Carol battled the disease.

During that time she began to visit Maggie’s Edinburgh, a charity based at the Western General which provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their loved ones.

The 50-year-old said: “Every day for six weeks I had a safe haven to go to – another radiotherapy treatment appointment through and coffee and biscuits to look forward to.

“Empathising, swapping stories but most of all sharing laughter, companionship and unashamed tears has been hugely important

“The uplifting, calm and caring environment always manages to lift my spirits.”

Her father, Bill Mabon, said: “For me, as Carol’s dad, the cup of tea and chat has been really appreciated and the help they have given to Carol has been really special.”

Carol’s prognosis is now looking good, so she has decided to raise money for Maggie’s by taking a hot air balloon flight from North Inch, Perth, on May 19 – her 51st birthday.

She said: “It came to me that although I was always scared of heights, if I could manage to be brave enough to actually do this then it could be something to be really proud of, as well as doing some good for Maggie’s which has been an absolute second home for me.”

She added: “Living with cancer, you learn strength you never thought you had. Fear can be overcome if you face up to it and I want this challenge so I can confront my fear.”

Donations have poured in to support her brave gesture, raising more than £1250 for the charity.

Andrew Anderson, centre head at Maggie’s Edinburgh, said: “We are enormously proud of Carol for taking on such a tricky challenge.

“It’s going to be tough but she will feel great when she’s done it.

“And we are enormously grateful to her for raising funds for Maggie’s Edinburgh. Maggie’s relies entirely on voluntary donations, like Carol’s, which means that every penny raised really does help us to make a difference to people living with cancer.”

Maggie’s was set up in Edinburgh in 1996, in memory of breast cancer patient Maggie Keswick Jones, who championed a new approach to cancer treatment. The charity now has 18 centres across the UK.

To sponsor Carol, visit www.justgiving.com/Carol-Maguire-balloon-flight.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com