Edinburgh student Baillie Smith devastated after losing both parents to liver cancer
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A young Hibs fan has been left heartbroken after he lost his mum to the same disease which killed his dad a decade before.
Baillie Smith was a devoted full-time carer to his mum Pauline Hannigan, who was told just after Christmas last year that she had liver cancer. Pauline, who had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years before, died from the disease just weeks later on February 7. Her family said Pauline ‘fought her hardest for five weeks’ but added that she couldn’t have a transplant because her body wasn't strong enough for chemotherapy first to reduce the tumours.
Baillie had been by his mother’s side since her Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2020 at the age of 54. When she became ill, the Hibs fan raised £2000 for Parkinsons UK and was touched when Hibs striker, Christian Doidge, sent him a video message to congratulate him on his achievement. The club awarded him a jersey complete with player signatures.
The 22-year-old put his studies at college on hold and took on the role of her carer. Pauline, a former carer herself, died peacefully at home with her beloved son holding her hand.
Since Pauline’s death, Baillie has been supported by Gillian Hutchinson and her daughter Lisa, close friends of his mum. Lisa started a GoFundMe page for Baillie which she hopes will help him get his own flat and rebuild his life. The page has already raised £7,500 of its £10,000 target.
Lisa said: “Over the last three years, Baillie put his future on hold to become his mum’s full time carer, he cared for her 24 hours a day right up until her last breath with very little time for himself but he would never have anyone else do these things for her. I witnessed this young man do things for his mother that no man would ever think of having to do for their mum in their lifetime, never mind from being a teenager. While doing all this for his mum he still managed to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease and continue to put a smile on everyone else’s face.
“I know nothing will ever bring back his parents but I wanted to set up this page to raise some money to put towards his future, help out towards a deposit on a flat, his driving license, and just the things his mum and dad would have wanted him to do."
Touching messages of support have been left on the campaign page. One person said: “Proud of the man that this great kid became. Stay strong Baillie, lad.”