Cancer category: Central nervous system tumours
Cancer type: Other specified neoplasms
Allister loved gigs, live comedy and his Mum’s Victoria sponge cake. But at 19, he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Allister Boyd, from Stair in Ayrshire, had been battling cancer apparently successfully since October 2005, only to be told in August 2008 that his latest brain tumour was inoperable and his illness was now terminal.
The devastating diagnosis made nineteen year old Allister determined to leave his mark on the world. More than anything he wanted to help other teenagers by easing their fears of serious illness and educating them about how to best deal with it. He was also determined to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust after being treated in Teenage Cancer Trust’s only current unit in Scotland at the Beatson in Glasgow, which treats young people aged 16 – 24.
Allister’s ultimate goal was to raise enough money to build a unit for teenagers aged 13 to 16 at Yorkhill hospital, to prevent them having to be treated in a children’s ward with toddlers and babies.
Allister had a positive attitude, a dry sense of humour and a calm acceptance of the hand life had dealt him. After being diagnosed as being terminally ill, he organised a party for over 200 people to raise money and to thank everyone who had helped him and was delighted when this raised over £50,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust’s Yorkhill Appeal.
Allister didn’t stop there, he continued to organise fundraising events in his final months and appeared in a BBC’s Lifeline programme about Teenage Cancer Trust in December 2008, triggering £28,000 in donations from viewers. He spoke at Teenage Cancer Trust events, to Rotary Clubs and to schools, many of whom chose Teenage Cancer Trust as their Charity of the Year as a result.
Allister’s final fundraiser was an all day fun day in his home village of Stair on 5th April 2009. He spent many weeks organising the sponsored 10k walk which over 115 people took part in, an Easter bonnet competition, barbeque, tombola, duck race and pub quiz in his local pub.
Unfortunately Allister passed away at 5am on the day before the event took place. His brave Mum and Dad, Robert and Kim, and his 16 year old brother Russell attended the event as a tribute to Allister, as they knew that’s what he would have wanted them to do. He would have been thrilled to know that the event raised a further £10,000 towards the new Yorkhill unit.
Allister touched the lives of everyone that he met, and was truly inspirational in every sense of the word, never once complaining about the cruel fate that he had been dealt. His passion, enthusiasm and determination to raise awareness and provide better facilities for teenagers with cancer did not go unrecognised.
On the Thursday before he died he was given a special award, ‘The Paul Harris Fellowship’ for his work from the Rotary Foundation. Most recipients of this honour would be in their 60s, with 40 years in the Rotary before even being considered for this award. In November 2008 he collected an Honorary Fellowship from Caledonian University, where he was a student, on stage that day alongside pop star Midge Ure.
Allister Boyd Award for contribution to health and wellbeing in a leadership role
Caledonian University set up an award in Allister's name, as the first recipient he was due to be presented with it the week after he died. The ‘Allister Boyd Award for contribution to health and wellbeing in a leadership role’ was accepted on his behalf by his brother Russell and will be presented to the Caledonian student each year, who shows more thought for others than he does for himself.
Allister raised a vast amount of the £350,000 needed for our unit at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children Yorkhill, and his fundraising legacy continues with his parents, Kim and Robert. Since Allister’s death, they have organised and taken part in loads of great fundraising initiatives including a firewalk, Bingo evening and have even braved the Arctic Circle on a 200km dog sled in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. Allister remains many people’s inspiration to get involved and raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust to allow other young people with cancer to receive the best possible care and support throughout their cancer journey.