Edinburgh man Ross McIntosh takes on The Proclaimers-inspired '500 miles' challenge for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation after dad's shock diagnosis

An Edinburgh man whose dad was unexpectedly diagnosed with lung cancer following a routine test has taken on a ‘500 miles’ challenged inspired by one of Scotland's most memorable anthems.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 4:45 pm

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Ross McIntosh has vowed to walk, cycle or hike 500 miles in the month of October to raise awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer – a disease with which his dad Bill was diagnosed in August.

"It was quite coincidental the finding of it,” said Ross, who moved to Edinburgh from his hometown of Perth six years ago.

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Ross McIntosh has vowed to walk, hike or cycle 500 miles in the month of October for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

"Dad had been in hospital with a gallbladder infection and he was then to get a CT scan on his chest which had already been booked as he had previously had a heart attack.

”They said it might as well be done while he was there and it was then that they found a 6cm mass on his lung.”

Bill, who is originally from Fife, underwent tests and a biopsy and was officially diagnosed on August 6, one month after the mass was first detected.

"It was tough for him to begin with because we couldn’t go into hospital to visit him,” said Ross.

Ross McIntosh, right, is taking on a 500 miles challenge after his dad Bill, left, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

"He got given the news that there was a growth and by the time he was home, he had prepared for the worst.”

Bill, who also has daughter Vikki, 44, and son Barry, 42, with his wife Nikki, was further prepared for what was to come thanks to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which sent him leaflets and information on what to expect.

It’s that support and help from the charity that inspired Ross to take on a challenge to raise crucial funds and awareness for the charity.

"As soon as I knew dad had cancer, I knew I wanted to do something. My immediate thought was Macmillan but the help and attention that Roy Castle gave us made me want to give something back,” he said.

"They’ve been very informative and helpful and thanks to them, dad’s always known what is in store, as unpleasant as some of it may be. I just want to say thank you.”

The 31-year-old has taken inspiration from his dad’s beloved Hibs and a song by the team’s famous supporters, The Proclaimers, to create the ‘500 miles’ challenge, which has seen him clock 408 miles already. His family and friends are also working together to travel ‘500 more’.

And just 22 days in, his GoFundMe page has already raised 150 per cent of his initial target.

"I’m pretty mind blown. We hit the £500 target in the first two and a half days and I was really taken aback by that,” he said.

He added that the task is giving him something to focus on, while his 71-year-old dad recovers from surgery to remove the mass and prepares to begin ‘belts and braces’ chemotherapy.

“It’s a case now of rallying together and rallying around dad and making sure he’s okay,” said the software developer.

"After the initial shock, he has taken it in his stride and just decided right, we’re on this rollercoaster, we can’t get off and we just have to deal with it.

"That’s the surgery done, next is the chemo and fingers crossed that will be the end of it.”

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