A YOUNG woman from Ayr who lost her beloved dad to cancer, has marked his birthday (June 9) by launching her bid to fund an entire cancer research project in his name.

Gaby Williamson, 20, is aiming to raise £200,000 to help Worldwide Cancer Research start new cancer cures and create a lasting legacy in memory of dad, Kevin Williamson, after losing him to oesophageal cancer in June 2020.

The student, who created a blog in lockdown called ‘Let’s Blether’ to help herself and others deal with the effects of grief, kickstarted the appeal with mum Victoria, brother Finlay and sister Poppy at Ayr Rugby Club, where Kevin played.

The club will be the focus of much of Gaby’s fundraising activity, with a family fun day already planned for August.

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Kevin passed away in June 2020, aged 49, after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in October 2018, which spread to his liver, lungs and stomach. A week after losing her dad, the family discovered that mum Victoria’s breast cancer had returned, and treatment is ongoing.

Gaby, who is currently studying politics, said: “When we were setting a fundraising target, we knew it had to be something big. Losing dad has left such a huge hole in our lives, but we wanted to do something positive in his memory, something that will help other families living and dealing with cancer.

“It’s great to have the support of the local community and Ayr Rugby Club, where my dad had a huge presence and we’d come as a family to watch my brother Finlay play.

“We chose Worldwide Cancer Research due to the amazing research breakthroughs the charity has funded. Being able to fund an entire research project in dad’s name would be such a fitting tribute to a man who meant the world to us, and as a family we’re focusing all our efforts into making it happen, however long it takes.”

Dr Helen Rippon, Chief Executive, Worldwide Cancer Research said: “This is quite simply an incredible

target, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to Gaby for choosing to support our charity in memory of her father.

“We are the charity that aims to end cancer by starting new cancer cures

worldwide, and Curestarters like Gaby make this work possible. I wish them every success with their fundraising.”

Scottish-based charity Worldwide Cancer Research has invested £200m into research projects, delivering breakthroughs that have improved survival rates.

They’re currently funding 74 research projects, with a total value of £15m, which are focused on 18 different types of cancer.