Published: 08/11/2017 07:00 - Updated: 07/11/2017 11:08

Grieving Nairn mother now faces her own cancer battle

Written byNicole Webber


Hamish and Susan Hey
Susan Hey with son Hamish who died in February after fighting cancer.

NINE months after the death of schoolboy Hamish Hey, a Nairn family has been dealt another devastating blow as his mother has been diagnosed with incurable breast cancer.

Hamish (8) died in February following a long battle with cancer but he had also supported his mother Susan through an earlier breast cancer fight – but it has returned.

The brave 39-year-old said: "It is secondary breast cancer and there is no cure, but I will fight this with every bit of energy I have.

"To be told nine months after your son has died that you have cancer is devastating and I need to fight it with everything I’ve got."

It was only two years ago that Mrs Hey was originally diagnosed.

"I have a picture that Hamish drew for me the first time I had cancer," she said.

"It is of me losing my hair and getting a wig and it is very sensitive and emotional – Hamish was amazing when I was going through treatment."

Hamish died after being diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.

His mother previously spoke out about his bravery at dealing with her diagnosis while he himself was in remission, saying that she drew her strength from him.

"The way Lily [Hamish’s older sister] and Hamish dealt with it and cared for me and each other was amazing," Mrs Hey said.

"He was the most lovable and caring boy, he captured hearts from Nairn and beyond."

Since his death his family have been working tirelessly to fundraise for Team Hamish – an organisation set up to keep his memory alive and raise funds for the Nairn community.

In less than five months, £30,000 has been raised to revamp the Nairn Links area to have a new all-weather family facility.

Highland councillors are currently working with Team Hamish on the changes but community fundraising continues, with local events and the sale of Team Hamish merchandise.

Mrs Hey travels to Glasgow each week for treatment and although she plans to continue steering Team Hamish, she knows she will not be able to be part of everything. 

"We will still create this family area in Nairn," she said. "It is still at the top of my priorities."

Hamish’s cancer was very rare and aggressive but Mrs Hey said there was much more which could be done to slow down the progression of her cancer.

"I intend to go through every treatment and I am completely confident – I have to be," Mrs Hey said. "It is what it is and I have to live with this now, but I do intend to live with it.

"I would rather be using my energy to grieve for Hamish but if this could be won on determination alone, then we would already be winning."

She has had local families contact her about how well the family has dealt with their grief and how they have managed to turn it into something positive.

"I feel really humbled," Mrs Hey said. "A handful of people have told me that they feel like they can talk about their loved ones after seeing the way we talk about him."

The selfless mum is also keen to minimise the impact of her illness on daughter Lily (11) and husband Sam (39).

"I need to be here with Lily and with Sam and to drive forward Team Hamish," she said.

"It is not because I’m planning to not be around, but because time is so precious."

She will also continue to raise awareness of cancer and supports the Stand Up to Cancer movement.

"People need to make sure that they are checked early," she added. "Early diagnosis is key. I didn’t get diagnosed early the first time. If there is any doubt, then get checked."

For information on how to get involved or donate to Team Hamish, visit

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