An inspirational woman has raised thousands of pounds for charity after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Eileen Collins raised £10,000 for Heartburn Cancer UK (HCUK) in less than a month in a bid to help raise public awareness of the early symptoms of oesophageal cancer.
The 62-year-old hopes that making people more aware of the warning signs will help to encourage them to seek medical advice.
Despite being given just nine months to live, the Ballater woman has been on a mission to do something positive for others.
Eileen contacted the charity shortly before Christmas to let them know she was keen to help prevent others finding themselves in a similar situation.
Persistent heartburn – for three weeks or more – is something people should have checked out by a doctor but it is thought not many people know this.
Before discovering the charity, Eileen made her own leaflets to try to educate others.
Eileen said: “I want to raise awareness so that others in my position have a better chance of survival in the future.”
She kicked off her fundraising efforts by holding a sale that raised £5,150 for HCUK and another £1,000 each for Macmillan and Cancer Research UK.
Supporting her are close friends Jenny and Steve Gow, who organised a sponsored head shave that raised more than £5,700 pounds.
Jenny, who was awarded an MBE last year for her own charity and volunteering work, said: “The way Eileen has dealt with her diagnosis has been simply incredible and we are in awe of her attitude.
“Eileen has the biggest family of friends and we are honoured to be among them.”
Eileen can no longer swallow food or drink and is fed through a tube because of the illness.
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Despite her limited time, she is determined to continue with her efforts and is keen to participate in a sponsored walk early this year.
Alistair Cheyne, a trustee for Heartburn Cancer UK, said: “We are so grateful to Eileen and the Ballater community for all their fundraising efforts and support. What great community spirit.
“Medicine to alleviate heartburn is so easy to buy over the counter, people don’t realise if you are suffering for more than three weeks or taking self-help remedies all the time, such as Rennie or Gaviscon, it’s time to get things checked.
“Getting seen earlier can make such a big difference if there is something more seriously wrong.
“We will be able to put the funds raised to great use on further awareness campaigns and can also provide Eileen with information booklets for her local community.”
Around 8,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, which has one of the worst five-year survival rates.