Health secretary pledges support for teen with cancer

Daniel Caplan, 17, was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour at the base of his brain last month.

Daniel has been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.
Daniel has been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.

The family of a teenager who has brain cancer have won the support of health secretary Jeane Freeman as they campaign to increase research funding.

Daniel Caplan, 17, was last month diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an aggressive tumour found at the base of the brain.

His parents Brian and Alison, from Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, are urging people to sign a petition for the UK Government to increase childhood cancer research funding.

On Monday, Labour MSP Anas Sarwar raised an STV News report about Celtic fan Daniel’s case during a meeting of Holyrood’s cross-party group on cancer, of which he is co-chair.

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He said: “Daniel was tragically diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, a brain tumour.

“Alison has been campaigning and highlighting around engaging on getting greater trials for rare brain tumours in the UK and also for some greater transparency around how that is researched and funded here in the UK and particularly in Scotland.

Daniel Caplan and mum Alison.

“Is there anything, any support or any guidance or anybody in your team who would be willing to engage with Alison and her family about how they can try and get something positive from this very tragic news about their son Daniel?”

In response, Ms Freeman said: “If you drop me an email Anas I’m very happy to look at that and find the right person with the right level of knowledge and authority to have a proper discussion with the family.”

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The Scottish Government’s national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch added: “Of course. I don’t know the specifics of the story Anas and I don’t know the specifics of the disease but we stand ready to try and do that.

“We don’t have miracle answers that aren’t available elsewhere but we will absolutely talk to anybody who has a story to tell us and if we can make things smoother or better for them we will absolutely do that.”

Mr Sarwar told STV news: “This is a heartbreaking case and I have spoken to Alison to extend my personal sympathy to the family.

Anas Sarwar has raised the family’s case.

“Alison is bravely campaigning for research into this type of cancer in the hope that families don’t have to suffer in the way they have been suffering.

“We need to restart cancer services and focus on cancer research as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, and I look forward to engaging with the health secretary to pursue this further.”

Meanwhile, Daniel’s family have also won the support of Celtic captain Scott Brown, whose 21-year-old sister Fiona died from cancer in 2008.

On Friday, the footballer tweeted a link to the petition, which was created by Fiona Govan, whose three-year-old grandson Logan died of DIPG three years ago.

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The petition calls for greater research funding and has attracted almost 80,000 signatures. If it reaches 100,000, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.


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