Fund in memory of DWF partner’s son passes £100,000
DWF partner Iain McLean and his family have raised more than £100,000 for The Duncan McLean Fund, established in memory of his son, who lost his life to a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in February 2016 – aged just 20.
Gullane-based Mr McLean set himself the huge target of running the equivalent of John O’Groats to Land’s End from October 2020 until his entry into the London Marathon in October this year for The Brain Tumour Charity.
Glioblastomas are a highly aggressive type of brain tumour with an extremely poor prognosis. The fund was established in Duncan’s name to raise vital funds for research into new treatments.
Duncan, a keen sportsman and rugby fan, died just two days after his brain tumour diagnosis, having previously experienced a series of increasingly excruciating headaches.
Since establishing the fund, Mr McLean’s family have led an increasingly popular surge of fundraising activities that have brought the local Gullane and East Lothian community together and inspired many.
Mr McLean is also part of The Brain Tumour Charity’s Scottish Steering Committee, which advocates for change for everyone affected by these conditions.
With the incredible £100,000 milestone now passed, Mr McLean is more determined than ever to maintain the momentum of the fund.
He said: “We didn’t set out thinking ‘let’s raise 100k or 50k or something’, it just snowballed through the incredible support over the past five years. What’s been amazing is that people keep giving.
“We didn’t have any awareness of brain tumours because it was only three weeks with what started as headaches for Duncan, so we had no knowledge about their impact at that stage.
“A friend of mine, Dr Robin Grant, a neurology consultant at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, recommended supporting The Brain Tumour Charity and their early diagnosis work. Things took off from there.
“Duncan’s pals have done lots of different things over the five years now. It kicked off with a huge golf challenge in July 2016, where a group of his pals played 72 holes in one day and that raised about £20k.
“Some of his uni pals did things like the Three Peaks Challenge this summer, and we held a ‘Run for Duncan’ in December 2019. We thought a few people would come along, maybe about 10 or 20 and in the end, over 400 people in the village came out to support - the whole community.”
Now, Mr McLean is in the midst of his year-long challenge that will culminate in the London Marathon this October, which he will run with his daughter Annabel, now an FY1 doctor on the front line at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
“I’ve not down a marathon before so my theory is that if I manage to do this Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge, I won’t have to do much training for the actual marathon but that might be wishful thinking. I will though be much fitter and ready for it than I am now! And of course there’s the mental health benefits of exercise while we’re stuck at home during the pandemic.
“Since the 4th Oct I’ve done over 370 miles and I schedule myself to do three runs a week. The pandemic has screwed up all the plans I had last year but committing to this virtually means I should be able to continue throughout the coming months and into the summer and achieve 874 miles in total!
“Working from home during the pandemic makes it easier to just get out there and fit it in around work, around lunchtimes. Where we live is next to the beach, the golf course, I can step out of the front door and I’m out there, so I can do different runs just from home. I’m fortunate to have all this on my doorstep.
“I’m 59 at the moment, I’ll be 60 by the time the marathon comes around but then 60 is the new 40!
“It’s the continued feeling of support from the community and from Duncan’s pals, from the golf and rugby clubs, his Uni pals – this is what keeps you going.”
This Sunday, 28 February, the whole family including mum Margaret, Annabel and Libby are supporting a virtual ‘Run for Duncan’ with friends and family holding runs and walks around the world.
Details can be found here and everyone is welcome to participate.
Alice Russell, the charity’s development manager for Scotland, said: “We remain so incredibly inspired by everything The Duncan McLean Fund has done for everyone affected by a brain tumour diagnosis.
“The tireless fundraising and awareness efforts of Iain and the family remain a beacon of support for so many and this is an outstanding sum of funds that will help to drive change.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and, unlike other cancers, survival rates have not improved over the last 40 years.
“We are leading the way in changing this and truly fighting brain tumours on all fronts through our work.
“We receive no government funding and rely 100 per cent on voluntary donations, so it’s only through the efforts of families such as Iain’s, that we can change these shocking statistics in the future and bring hope to the thousands of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year.”
The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts.
It funds pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options as well as raising awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours to bring about earlier diagnosis.
The charity also provides support for everyone affected so that they can live as full a life as possible, with the best quality of life. Find out more here.