08-20-2012, 04:44 AM   #1
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Great Scots Awards

Great Scots Awards: Businessman nominated after raising £400,000 to fight the disease that killed his mum
BUSINESSMAN Derek McEwan was just a teenager when his mum died after years battling Crohn’s disease.

Catherine was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel condition at the age of 16 and, despite being frequently ill, she lived her life to the full.

She died in 1991, aged just 38, when Derek was 16 and his brother Gary 21.

Determined his mum would never be forgotten, Derek, now 37, set up the Catherine McEwan Foundation in her memory in 2003.

Since then, the charity have raised more than £400,000 to support people living with inflammatory bowel diseases.

They have organised sponsored walks and runs, completed parachute jumps, held race nights and stage an annual Red Hot Ball.

And Derek’s devotion to the cause has put him in the running for our Great Scot unsung hero award.

He said: “When I was a boy, my mum was my whole world. She was my best friend and my confidante.

“To lose her as a teenager was heartbreaking.

“It took me a long time to come to terms with her death. To this day, I miss her fighting spirit and zest for life.

“Nine years ago, I decided to do something practical in my mum’s memory, so I organised an event and was stunned at how much we raised.

“It was then we decided to set up the foundation, which next year will celebrate its 10th birthday. I know mum would have been delighted.”

As well as the fundraising events, Derek organises family focus days, where sufferers can get together and share their stories.

He also runs an annual carnival at Braehead Arena, in Glasgow, where young bowel patients can forget their condition for the day and just be themselves.

Catherine McEwan
The money raised by the foundation is split between Crohn’s & Colitis UK and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

Many well-known sportsmen suffer from serious bowel conditions, including Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher and former Airdrie footballer David Gillies.

Derek, who runs a media business, said: “Our aim is simple – to try to make life a bit better for people affected by Crohn’s and colitis.

“A diagnosis of these conditions can be particularly hard for a young person, so 50 per cent of the funds we raise goes to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, helping improve the lives of young people in the west of Scotland and beyond.”

Derek, who last year ran from Trafalgar Square in London to George Square in Glasgow as part of a 12-strong fundraising team, will take part in this year’s Berlin marathon.

And the foundation’s Red Hot Ball continues to go from strength to strength.

Derek said: “It’s surprising how many people are affected by IBDs. The support we get in Scotland is unbelievable.

“My mum was a fantastic person and I’m proud she will never be forgotten.”


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