Getting Pretty Muddy to help fight cancer

Evan wilson pretty muddy glasgow 2019

A brave schoolboy diagnosed with cancer as a newborn took centre stage at the Race for Life Pretty Muddy Glasgow

9th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A brave schoolboy diagnosed with cancer as a newborn took centre stage to help all Scots battling the disease.

Evan Wilson, seven, was chosen as VIP starter for Race for Life Pretty Muddy Glasgow, a 5K mud-splattered obstacle course which more than 3,278 Scots took part in on Sunday (8 September), raising £200,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Evan sounded the horn to set youngsters off on the course before joining in with the boys and girls to wriggle through scramble nets, bounce on space hoppers and crawl through a mud pit - to help raise money for life-saving research.

And later in the day it was the adults’ turn as men and women took on the mud. They included newly wed Sabine Gould, 31, from Balloch who took part in Pretty Muddy in her wedding dress complete with all three bridesmaids. Sabine who married Sean Gould in October last year took part in memory of her grandad Gordon Irwin. Participants were helped by the RAF Air cadets who volunteered as stewards at the event, keeping the mud topped up and lining the route to cheer participants on.

Now clear of cancer, Evan of Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire, was supported by his mum Lorraine, 46, and dad Scott, 49, as well as his sister Jorja, 13. They know exactly how vital the power of research is to help give families more tomorrows with their loved ones.

Evan had his first chemotherapy session at just 12 days old after a sharp eyed midwife spotted a swelling in his stomach minutes after he was born. Doctors confirmed he was suffering from a rare form of liver cancer known as hepatoblastoma two hours later. He endured two bouts of septicaemia before surgery and six months of treatment.

After treatment to shrink the size of the tumour, Evan and his family travelled to Birmingham’s Children’s hospital where on 4 April 2012 he had surgery to remove his gall bladder and half his liver. The operation was estimated to last around eight hours so when medics called after just four hours, Evan’s parents feared the worst.

Evan’s dad, Scott, also a psychiatric nurse, said: “We raced back to the hospital ward like Olympic runners, terrified that something had gone wrong.

“When we reached the ward, the doctors explained we’d hung up the phone too quickly before they’d had time to tell us that everything had gone well. It was more straightforward then they’d thought so it had taken less time to complete the operation. That was such a relief. Evan had some medical care and we’re so fortunate to have the NHS in this country. We’ll be forever in the debt of Khalid Sharif, the surgeon who helped fix our boy. I remember him saying to us in the nicest possible way that he never wanted to see us again.”

After six sessions of chemotherapy, the family were told in June 2012 that Evan was in remission. Genetic tests later showed that Evan and his sister both have a faulty gene which leads to a lifelong condition known as familial polypodis, causing small growths in the large bowel but they are monitored closely. And Evan who has gone from strength to strength is thriving in primary four at St Machan’s Primary school in East Dunbartonshire.


Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to Evan and to everyone who took part in Pretty Muddy Glasgow.

“Listening to Evan’s story brought home to everyone why raising money for cancer research is so important. The atmosphere on the obstacle course was full of fun and camaraderie with an extra helping of mud, sweat and cheers. It was also emotional with participants wearing signs on their backs declaring their reasons for taking part. Many will be remembering loved ones lost to cancer or celebrating the lives of people dear to them who have survived.”