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Grantown biking enthusiast and former mountain rescue leader on blood cancer battle

Al Gilmour from Grantown is currently battling blood cancer.
Al Gilmour from Grantown is currently battling blood cancer.

Having gone through four rounds of chemo and two stem cell transplants, Al Gilmour knows how precious life is.

He was first diagnosed with myeloma in January 2017 after going to his GP complaining of back pain.

The blood cancer can cause persistent bone pain, usually in the back, ribs and hips, and can lead to tiredness and weakness.

Now aged 49, Al’s condition is getting worse.

Mr Gilmour, who has led the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and taught mountain biking, believes his adventurous life has helped in a small way.

Al Gilmour was previously the chairman of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team

He said: “It was like being slammed into a wall when I got diagnosed with cancer.

“The first round of treatment was nurturing as you feel like you were doing something to attack the cancer.

“I’m lucky as the job that I had was as a mountaineering and mountain biking instructor for about 20 years.

“So I have never lived a plan A life.

“This means I always live based on what I have in front of me.

During the first treatment, I experienced the bizarre mix of positivity that you are doing all you can and the reality that at some point, this incurable illness will kill you.”

Al Gilmour

“Life is always full of change.

“During the first treatment, I experienced the bizarre mix of positivity that you are doing all you can and the reality that at some point, this incurable illness will kill you.”

Positive impact of biking

Up until recently, Al has been able to continue doing what he loves most – pedalling his bicycle.

He has been clocking up the miles making deliveries for his wife Kirsten who runs the Kj’s Bothy Bakery in Grantown.

Al said: “Biking is where she sees me happy and relaxed.

“My wife Kirsten runs a bakery and makes deliveries mainly through ebikes.

“On Thursdays, I have been cycling between 24 and 31 miles to make deliveries.

“This was before the chemo knocked me about.

“Life is priceless.

“It makes me feel alive being out with the bikes, dogs or with my wife.”

Life is priceless. ”

Al Gilmour

Fundraising efforts

In a show of solidarity with Al, everyday this month three of his friends have been dooking in local rivers and lochs.

Rachel Knight, Kerriann Wilson and Ingrid Artus are fundraising for Myeloma UK in the process.

Already the trio have raised £2,600 for the charity.

Pals taking on the challenge.

Rachel said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to raise money for the charity and support Al.

“Some swimming days, I have had to battle with my head.

“However, you never regret it after getting out of the water.”

Al described the fundraising efforts as “humbling” and hailed Myeloma UK for supporting his wife.

He added: “It is amazing to see them fundraising for a charity that has supported my wife throughout my blood cancer battle.”

Donations can be granted towards the fundraising effort here.

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