An inspiring Scottish dad tackles the grueling Tour de France cycle route inspired by his daughter who was diagnosed with cancer after taking a Covid test.
Allan Dickson’s daughter Olivia, known as Liv, started suffering discomfort last year during the first coronavirus lockdown of 2020.
Allan and his wife Abigail, 46, initially attributed it to either growing pains or the fact that Liv had already dislocated her knee.
It wasn’t until the 12-year-old had a fever at school and was sent for a Covid test on November 16, 2020 that the real reason for the pain was revealed.
The doctor who performed the test noticed ‘signs’ that a more serious condition could be causing Liv’s symptoms and she was taken to the emergency room at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for testing.
The family, from Glasgow, were only sent home for Allan to be called a few hours later.
Liv was rushed to hospital where she received the devastating diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Allan, 54, described the shock diagnosis as “the worst news a parent could ever hear”.
Speaking to the Daily Record, he noted: “ It was a thunderclap.
“Deep inside me, when she had issues with her joints, I thought maybe there was something there because there was a history of cancer in my family, but never in my dreams were they. crazier I would have thought it would be this diagnosis.”
The brave teenager would spend the next six weeks in hospital before returning home on Christmas Eve 2020.
Liv, 13, is just over a year into her two-and-a-half-year treatment plan, which includes weekly chemotherapy sessions.
Describing his brave daughter, Allan said: “She is indomitable, her spirit is incredible. She is a fierce young lady and she does everything with a smile on her face. She never complains and always thinks of others before herself. .”
But the father-of-two, who also lost his mother to cancer when he was just 13, admits Liv’s diagnosis has left him feeling “helpless”.
He said: “As a parent, your mission in life is to care for and protect your children.
“When your child is diagnosed with cancer, there is nothing you can do or influence.
“You are putting your child’s life in the hands of the specialists and you just have to be there for moral support and to dig deep emotionally.”
The 54-year-old is now determined to help children with leukemia – which is the most common form of childhood cancer.
Amateur cyclist Allan, who works in recruitment, will join 25 other riders from around the world to tackle the Tour de France.
The grueling cycle will begin in Copenhagen in June 2022 ahead of the professional race.
It features 21 brutal stages that rack up a total of 3,382km in four different countries over three weeks.
The team hope to collectively raise £1million, which will go to the Cure Leukemia charity to invest in clinical trials for pioneering treatments.
Allan, who already clocks around 400km a week in training, said: “Everything I go through is nothing compared to what these kids are going through.
“It’s a small price to pay to help the association.
“My mission is to try to raise awareness for childhood cancer, raise funding and help families in the unfortunate position we find ourselves in and make their lives a little easier.
“And, most importantly, trying to find a cure.”
Liv has even received permission from doctors to meet her father for an emotional reunion when he crosses the finish line in Paris on the Champs-Elysées.
You can donate to Allan fundraiser here.