AN eight-year-old boy ran the Mey Mile on Sunday in memory of his aunt and to raise cash for a charity trying to find a cure for a rare form of cancer.
Sam Mackay, from Thurso, wanted to raise money for AMMF – The Alan Morement Memorial Fund – which is the UK’s only bile duct cancer charity.
Sam’s aunt Nikki Petrie died of the disease on March 17, aged 41, after being diagnosed only last October.
The youngster had a fundraising target of £100 but has surpassed it, raising £1612.24 so far and just two-and-half weeks after setting up a Just Giving website page.
Sam’s mother Kirsty said: "Sam came to us asking if he could do the London Marathon, but we knew that was a bit much, so we asked if they were doing the Mey Mile this year, and could he raise money for a charity for his aunt."
The Mey Mile, for children, is not normally a sponsored event and takes place alongside the main Castle of Mey 10K. Sam’s parents got in touch with the organisers and they agreed to let him take part.
Mrs Mackay said: "The amount we got is absolutely phenomenal and we want to thank everyone. People wanted to give because he’s so young.
"It’s been all his own idea – there’s been no prompting from me or his dad.
"It’s absolutely amazing and we’re really proud of him. It’s actually quite nice and refreshing to know that children can come up with something of their own, which has inspired so many other people."
Mrs Mackay added: "It has helped the family as part of the process that we’ve had to go through and it’s been quite useful for him too. It’s just nice to be able to give money to the charity that’s now very close to our heart.
"Hopefully we can save other people. It’s just the positivity that’s come out of something that was quite devastating."
Although bile duct cancer or cholangiocarcinoma is considered a rare cancer, worldwide it is the second most common cancer arising in the liver.
It is very difficult to diagnose accurately and early and it is often advanced by the time of diagnosis so surgery – currently the only potential cure – is not an option. Only five per cent of people will survive a year after being diagnosed with the disease.