A Mearns family have been given the devastating news that their only surviving child has the same rare genetic defect that killed her siblings.
Angela and Billy Whyte have already lost two children to cancer, but have vowed to “stay strong” after tests revealed 12-year-old Samantha has the same defect.
Their daughter Hanna died last year on her 19th birthday, from choroid plexus carcinoma – a rare and aggressive cancer.
Her death came 15 years after her brother Corrie died of the same condition when he was just 23 months old.
And although Samantha has been told she carries the same gene defect, she currently has no signs of any tumours.
Blood tests have shown that she and her father both carry the P53 gene fault, as well as Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, a rare inherited cancer disorder that increases the chance of developing the disease.
Today, Mrs Whyte said the family was relieved that an MRI had shown Samantha had no sign of the disease and that they were determined to “soldier on.”
She said: “It was devastating news and Billy was very upset, but talking about it has helped.
“There’s no way we could have ever known until Hanna was also diagnosed.
“In a way we have almost become resilient because of what has happened already. As long as Samantha’s tests continue to come back clear and Billy remains healthy, we’ll soldier forward.
“We want to keep as busy as possible.”
Mr Whyte will also undergo tests to see if he is free of tumours, and his immediate family will also be given the chance to be tested for the hereditary condition.
The family are all members of the Howe O’ The Mearns Pipe Band, who rallied round when Hanna became ill.
After her diagnosis, the band raised thousands of pounds to cover her funeral.
The remaining money was donated to Roxburghe House, where Hanna received care, and the family said it was a cause they would continue to support.