A toddler with a rare brain tumour has inspired plans for a new support centre in Aberdeen for children with cancer.
Two-year-old Kinsley McMillan from Forfar, Angus, has lost her sight as a result of her condition.
The tot’s relatives have been supported by the charity Team Jak and family members travel to their Livingston base every week for music therapy sessions.
They are now fundraising to help open a facility in Aberdeen, which will provide practical, social and emotional care to children and families in the north east.
Kinsley’s grandmother, Karen Kennedy, told STV News: “They’ve developed Kinsley’s ability for speech therapy, for physiotherapy, for sound development, for her overall wellbeing, for happiness, for some enjoyment in life.
“They’ve also provided music therapy and play therapy for Kinsley’s brother Freddie and there hasn’t been the ability to find that within our own local authority, so it really is one of a kind.
“Team Jak is based in Livingston, but it’s quite a distance to travel if you’re from Inverness or even further north, so the hub that will be replicated in Aberdeen will be created in Kinsley’s legacy because regardless of the situation, Kinsley has a life-threatening disease.
“There will be plans to fund raise each year for Kinsley, regardless of what the situation is.”
Hazel McLinden, from Team Jak, said: “They travel an hour-and-a-half every Friday down to Livingston, but the smiles and the absolute way that wee girl responds to Angelica our music therapist, her family has said a lot about the value of that.
“However, if she had something similar in Aberdeen it would halve her journey every week, so we are really raising the momentum to get one open in Aberdeen before the end of this year.”
Kinsley was diagnosed in September 2020 when she was five months old and has undergone several surgeries. In January, 80% of the tumour was removed.
In the coming weeks she is set to undergo an MRI scan to determine the next course of treatment, which could include inhibitor drugs.
“This is the best I’ve ever seen her. She’s doing amazingly well, rolling over and she’s saying ‘hi’,” said Kinsley’s mum, Eden Kennedy.
“From when she was born you’d never expect her to be where she is today.”
The people of Forfar have taken Kinsley to their hearts and raised more than £3000 for Team Jak at a recent music fun day in the town.
“The community has been amazing, everyone is so great. Everywhere I go, I get stopped in the shops and everyone knows who Kinsley is,” added Eden.
Karen added: “The family are overwhelmed by the support from the local community, it restores faith in human nature if you like and everybody is rallying round to support those with brain tumours and particularly Kinsley.
“If love was enough Kinsley would be here for eternity.
“Without that love and support I’m not sure how we would be able to cope with this as a family.”