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Twins get race honour

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Twins get race honour

A TEENAGER from the region who beat cancer after treatment in the US had the honour of launching Scotland's biggest Race for Life on Sunday.

Eilidh Steel has made a full recovery after treatment with proton beam therapy for cancer of the salivary gland after doctors discovered a tumour in her neck.
The 15-year-old from Kelloholm was chosen as a VIP, along with her twin Louise, to kick off this year’s Race for Life Glasgow, which attracted 6350 runners.
She said: “It’s been a really emotional day but I’ve loved every moment of it.
“Raising money to help find and develop new cancer treatments is a way to give hope to many people who are diagnosed with cancer. It’s important to me to do everything I can to help.”
Her parents, Iain, 50, and Debbie Steel, 46, watched with pride as their daughters took the limelight. The family also completed the Family 5K together and were joined at the race by their pet dogs.
Eilidh was only 12 when doctors at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow removed a growth from a saliva gland on her neck, below her left ear. Surgeons also removed six lymph nodes.
Her mum had been concerned about the lump for three years but had initially been told it was nothing to worry about. However, tests after the operation revealed that it was cancerous.
Debbie said: “My legs just buckled away from me when they told us. All my instincts had been telling me that the lump was far from normal. To find out it was cancerous was devastating. I’d lost both my mum and dad to cancer. All I could think was, ‘Please, no. Not my wee lassie too.”
Doctors were concerned that standard radiotherapy could damage surrounding nerves so advised that Eilidh should have proton beam therapy.
But as it’s currently unavailable in the UK, the NHS paid for treatment at the University of Florida’s Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville.
Debbie said: “We had to uproot our lives and move to America for three months. We’d have done anything though to get Eilidh well.
“The NHS paid for Eilidh and my travel but couldn’t foot the bill for Eilidh’s dad or sister. Our local community stepped in and raised the money. We were so grateful. We were just bowled over by everyone’s kindness.”

Eilidh on the proton beam therapy machine
Eilidh on the proton beam therapy machine

Eilidh, who is a pupil at Sanquhar Academy, had 36 sessions of proton beam therapy. The family flew home in April 2014 and Eilidh has remained free from signs of cancer since.
And she’s setting her sights on a law career, with her mum saying: “She’s one determined girl so I’ve no doubt she’ll do exactly what she sets her mind to.”

Eilidh and twin Louise Steel getting ready to start the race by sounding the air horn.Eilidh beat cancer after receiving specialist treatment in the US and got through it thanks to support from her sister louise.Cancer Research Uk's Race For Life Glasgow 2017.
Eilidh and twin Louise Steel getting ready to start the race by sounding the air horn

PICTURES COURTESY OF CANCER RESEARCH UK

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