A Renfrewshire woman has recalled the shock of being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer hours after falling ill at a music festival.
Errin Shaw, 30, was attending TRNSMT at Glasgow Green with her husband Graeme when she began feeling unwell on September 13, 2021.
Hours later, doctors gave her the devastating news that she had Grey Zone Lymphoma and that she may not live to see the following Christmas.
Now celebrating being in remission, Errin is sharing her story as part of the Beatson’s Bauble Appeal.
Errin said: “I was at TRNSMT in Glasgow Green, we were listening to Snow Patrol, and I actually thought I was having a heart attack.
“I turned to my husband Graeme and said ‘have I been stabbed?’ and he said no, so my mum picked us up. She took me straight to the Glasgow Royal and within four hours I was diagnosed with cancer.
“I was there for three or four nights then I went straight to the Beatson – so I never went home from TRNSMT for a month.”
Errin had been experiencing itchy skin for months in the lead up to her heartbreaking diagnosis.
She had got married on June 17 2021 and the couple lived together in Paisley.
Just three months later, she would begin chemotherapy consisting of 24-hour bags for five days.
She underwent dose-adjusted e-poch chemotherapy, a chemotherapy combination used to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
She then came off the bags for seven to 14 days and started again. This regime continued five times.
There were only ten days during an eight-month period that Errin wasn’t in the Beatson due to the complexity of her treatment.
Errin said: “I had 606 hours of dose-adjusted e-poch chemo – it’s not the most straight forward chemo. I was hooked up for five days in a row to my chemotherapy.”
While on a day out in Edinburgh with her sister in June, she received an unexpected phone call from a nurse informing her that her scans were clear from cancer.
She said: “My phone rang and it was the Beatson. Every time my phone rang and it said ‘Beatson’ I’d always look at whoever I was with and say ‘get my bag packed’ because we knew it meant I was going back in.
“It was my lymphoma nurse, Michelle, and she said ‘I can’t wait until your appointment on Monday to tell you this news. We’ve actually had to triple check it because we can’t believe your PET scan’s clear’.
“She said there was no detection of disease at that present moment. As you can imagine that was out the blue and from last year being told I wasn’t going to make the Christmas to being told that… It was a crazy moment.”
Errin has since held a fundraiser called the ‘Gingie Ball’ to celebrate being in remission, which raised £5,375 for Beatson Cancer Charity.
She also plans to visit the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre on Christmas Day to hand out gifts to patients after experiencing being in the wards last Christmas.
Erin said: “There aren’t words for the Beatson, I wouldn’t be here without them.
“We’ve obviously raised thousands for the Beatson because being in there you experience first hand just how amazing they are, they’re phenomenal.
“I can’t talk highly enough about them – from the auxiliaries to the porters to the café ladies… When you ring the bell and the whole café team cheer you on, the fundraisers who helped with my ball – everyone just wants you to do well when you go in there.”
Beatson Cancer Charity is launching its Bauble Appeal this Christmas to ensure more patients and their families across the west of Scotland can be supported by its services.
The charity is using the festive season to share positive stories to shine a spotlight on its campaign.
Rachel Mullin, campaigns officer at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We are delighted to be launching our Bauble Appeal with the support of some patients and family members who have been kind enough to share their story.
“They all have first hand experience of the Beatson and the difference our charity’s services make to patients.
“We would be grateful for any support you can offer us this Christmas so we can continue to be there for patients and families across the west of Scotland.”