Death of father inspires charity worker 30 years on

A WOMAN who lost her father to cancer aged five has told how she grew up hating the disease and how his death inspired her to pursue a career helping others.

Saturday, 25th March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 25th March 2017, 10:49 am
Katy Williamson is the Legacy Manager in Scotland for Cancer Research UK.
Katy Williamson is the Legacy Manager in Scotland for Cancer Research UK.

Katy Williamson, who lives in Drumbrae, is taking on a new role as Cancer Research UK’s legacy manager in Scotland.

The 34-year-old former Mary Erskine School pupil, was left heartbroken after her dad Angus Williamson died only weeks after her birthday party in the spring before she started school for the first time.

Now nearly 30 years on - Katy is planning a nationwide tour of Scotland this spring to share with communities everywhere why it’s vital to accelerate groundbreaking research and ensure more men, women and children with cancer survive.

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It will be an emotional moment for Katy when on the 30th anniversary of her dad’s death on May 30 this year she’ll be in Thurso, just one venue in her nine-stop roadshow tour. She’ll be encouraging people to leave a lasting gift for future generations by including a donation to the charity in their will.

Katy said: “I hope my story inspires as many people as possible to consider leaving a gift in their will to Cancer Research UK.

She added: “I hope Dad would be proud of me, proud of everything I’m working towards now to stop other families from losing a loved one.

“There are so many special moments in my life that I wish my Dad had lived to see. Dad wasn’t there for my first day of school or my graduation day from St Andrews University. He didn’t get to see my relief when I passed my driving test or to witness the happiness of all my family and friends together celebrating my 21st birthday party.”

She added: “I have cried many times over the years. I grew up feeling sad that memories of walking with dad in the Scottish Highlands on summer holidays were only memories that I’d never have back again.

“It must have been a very frightening time for mum to know that now she had to bring up three children alone while grieving for the husband we’d all loved so much. There was tremendous sadness and a sense of shock. It was all down to mum to attend all the school sports days, help with all the homework and to love us. Her children were her life and she did it all brilliantly. But I grew up as a teenager hating cancer, thinking only that it was something which took away parents.”

Every hour, around four people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland and the number of people being diagnosed with cancer has reached 31,900 a year. Gifts left to Cancer Research UK in wills fund over a third of its pioneering work, helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into better treatments for patients.