WHEN both their mums were struck by cancer, teenagers Emma Sutherland and Jamie McIntosh poured out their deepest fears and thoughts in the hope their experiences could help others.
Both wrote inspirational books packed with advice and support for children facing the same nightmare.
Now the Edinburgh teenagers have both been recognised at the highest level for their incredible achievements – with awards that come straight from the Prime Minister.
Emma, 15 and Jamie, 16, learned today that they have both been chosen by Prime Minister David Cameron to receive Points of Light awards, given to specially selected people from around the UK who have made a positive change in their community and inspired others.
The awards are presented by the Prime Minister’s office to one person every day for their outstanding achievements.
Emma, a pupil at Boroughmuir High, will become the 319th person in the UK to receive one of the coveted awards. Jamie, who goes to Craigmount High, will be the 320th winner.
Schoolgirl Emma, from Fairmilehead, was just 13 when she learned her mum Rosie had breast cancer. Confused by what was ahead, she began searching for information about the disease and discovered there was little support for children like her.
She used her own experiences as background for Eek! My Mummy Has Breast Cancer, the first book of its kind aimed at helping other children like her cope with finding out a parent has cancer.
Since then her book has sold 1800 copies and is available in Maggie’s Centres, schools, and libraries in Scotland.
Just last week it emerged that Emma is now writing a second book after learning that her step-father Scott Reid, a police constable, has been diagnosed with skin cancer.
Emma’s mum Rosie said today the award had lifted the family’s spirits after the recent shock news of her husband’s illness.
“It was a lovely surprise and something we really needed after what we’ve gone through with Scott’s diagnosis. I’m incredibly proud of her.”
Jamie met Emma after both were chosen by local charity Fight Against Cancer Edinburgh to join them on a Christmas flight to Lapland, organised every year as a special treat for youngsters who have gone through difficult times and illness.
During the flight, Emma inspired the Corstorphine teenager to write his own book reflecting on the loss of his mother Monica. She died in 2013 after battling breast cancer for 17 years.
His book, My Mum Monica, which is written in a ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ style, was published in May.
Jamie, who has ambitions to be a sports journalist, added: “It has been a real shock to be named for the award. I think of my mum every day. I’m just glad that the book and her story is helping people.”