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Cancer teen gives back to dad's generous college staff colleagues

By Kaiya Marjoribanks

When colleagues of a Forth Valley College manager learned of his son’s cancer diagnosis they rallied round to help...only for the brave and generous lad to do the same.

Zak Stark’s middle son Daniel, aged 13, was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and is now undergoing chemotherapy at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

Zak, who lives in Menstrie, is head of commercial and training at the college.

Lisa Hachemi and Caroline Hogg from the commercial and training and delivery and business development teams – swung into action and raised £1,120 to give to Daniel at this difficult time for him and his family.

But Daniel had some other ideas for the cash and was determined that it would not just be him who would benefit from the excellent gesture from his dad’s work colleagues.

Zak said: “Daniel, myself and my wife Lynn are absolutely blown away by the teams’ kindness and can’t thank them enough for their support at this time.

“Daniel jumped on the opportunity to buy a PlayStation 5 and games to go with it. This is very exciting for Daniel and will really help him as he goes through the next six months of chemo cycles.

“But Daniel has said that he would really like teenagers in his ward to also benefit from the kindness of the team and would like to donate £560 to the Teenage Cancer Care Unit Fund at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

“He has spoken to Ronan Kelly who is the Teenage Cancer Trust youth support co-ordinator for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow regarding the donation. Ronan has pointed out that he arranges trips for teenagers undergoing treatment. This is funded through a small budget and this donation would really help support these activities.

“I am so proud of my son and I am sure that my colleagues will be too and delighted to hear he is unselfishly putting nearly half of the money to such a good cause.”

Ronan said: “All of us here in the Schiehallion Ward have been so impressed with Daniel during the first part of his treatment.

“He is such a kind, mannerly and friendly young man with many of the staff developing a soft spot for him over the last few weeks.

“His decision to share his money with us demonstrates these qualities perfectly.

“We will use this donation to fund fun and interesting summer opportunities for teenage patients to attend. These opportunities will give young people like Daniel the chance to meet others going through a similar experience which can make a cancer journey that little bit easier. Many thanks for your support.”

Lisa Hachemi, contracts officer in the department of commercial and training delivery at FVC, said: “When Zak told both Caroline and I of Daniel’s diagnosis we wanted to do something to help. We also knew that the staff in the wider department would want to get involved too.

“We organised a whipround and in the space of two weeks had raised £1,120, which was a fantastic amount.

“Zak is a highly thought-of staff member, who goes over and above for everyone and it was the least that we could do in this difficult time.

“All staff have Daniel and his family in their thoughts and prayers and we intend to fundraise in the near future for the Teenage Cancer Trust. We hope that Daniel enjoys playing his PlayStation 5 and that he too will be able to enjoy the day trips that are organised by the Cancer Trust.’’

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Dive Deeper:
Rangers legend Andy Goram rushed to hospital with 'severe stomach pains' amid cancer battle
The ex-goalkeeper, 58, is to undergo a procedure which will establish whether there is a problem with his treatment.
Why three quarters of Ghana’s child cancer patients won’t reach adulthood
Prohibitive healthcare costs and late diagnosis are turning curable cancers into a death sentence
Doctors told boy his symptoms were 'attention seeking' but it was dangerous tumour
After three-year-old Arthur Ridout was rushed to A&E after falling ill in the park, one medic suggested his symptoms could…
Boy whose symptoms were dismissed as 'attention seeking' found to have brain tumour
Little Arthur Ridout is now undergoing treatment
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Deborah James’ Bowelbabe Fund raises more than £2m for cancer research
Podcast host Deborah James has said there is no stone that “we haven’t tried to turn” as she spoke from…
Toddler branded 'attention seeking' by doctors diagnosed with plum-sized tumour
Arthur Ridout was regularly taken to hospital by his worries parents who pleaded with doctors to take their three-year-old's illness…
Get all your news in one place