CHRISTMAS has come early for a Clackmannan teen battling neurological cancer, after he enjoyed a dream trip to Lapland.
Stuart Hutchison (18) was given the festive gift by FACE - Fight Against Cancer Edinburgh.
His mum Fiona said, "Stuart was meant to go last year, but he was too sick having just had his second brain tumour operation and radiotherapy and was due to start his chemotherapy." As reported in the Advertiser previously, Stuart began to suffer from symptoms of a brain tumour in May last year.
After trips to see five different doctors with complaints of blinding headaches and weeks of being violently sick, his family eventually took him to Stirling Royal Infirmary in the July.
After a scan he was rushed to the Western Infirmary in Edinburgh to undergo an operation to remove part of a tumour. He then went under the knife once again in September 2011, followed by a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
It was later found out that the tumour was so severe he could have passed away in his sleep if left any longer. Stuart was disappointed to miss the trip last year, so wanted to make the most of the adventure.
Fiona said, "He's been really excited about it since the build up began a few months ago. He was most looking forward to meeting the huskies and to get a ride on the sledge they tow." During the day trip, accompanied by other young people, volunteers, doctors and nursing staff, Stuart also got to drive a snowmobile around in the dark, had fun on a reindeer sledge, and met the big man himself - Santa Claus.
The holiday couldn't have come at a better time as Stuart has now finished all of his treatment. He is scheduled for a scan on Friday (28 December) to which he should hopefully get the all-clear in mid-January.
Fiona added, "It'll be a long and anxious three-week wait, but he is doing well considering he's had seven operations in the last 15 months. He is still peg fed at nights, but he's getting stronger all the time, so we are trying to stay positive."