Brave mum Viv copes with battling a brain tumour by signing up celebrities and their recipes for her fundraising cook book
VIV MCBETH, of Prestwick was 32 when doctor’s discovered she had a brain tumour after she suffered blinding headaches which would wake her up during the night.
So she signed up celebrities for a cookbook to raise cash for research into the condition through the charity Brain Tumour UK.
Lorraine Kelly, Miranda Hart and Matthew Wright are among those who supplied favourite dishes for the book, called Viv’s Kitchen, which so far has raised £8000.
Viv, now 40, found her world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, aged 32.
Scared she wouldn’t live to see her son Euan, then three, start school, she found comfort in her love of cooking.
Viv, a former financial adviser, now works full time for the Brain Tumour UK Charity.
She compiled the cookbook after meeting telly queen Lorraine at a charity awards ceremony and then wrote to a host of other household names asking for their help.
The mum-of-one, from Prestwick, Ayrshire, was delighted when Lorraine replied with a recipe for her mum Anne’s signature homemade chicken soup.
Contributions from comedian Miranda, TV presenter Matthew, former Scotland goalie Alan Rough and Rab C Nesbitt star Barbara Rafferty followed.
Viv is now hoping to attract more famous names for a second edition.
She said: “Home cooking was one of the things that kept me going when I was down. Making healthy meals made me feel good and I wanted to share my love of food with others.
“I couldn’t believe it when Lorraine Kelly sent me a recipe for her mum’s homemade chicken soup, so I decided to email more celebrities. Soon, Miranda Hart had sent me a recipe for a trifle and Matthew Wright another for a lovely chicken dish cooked with spinach.
“The teachers at my son’s school tell me how much they’ve enjoyed making the recipes.”
Viv first felt ill while making a banoffee pie in April 2005.
Days of blinding headaches followed and she and husband Paul, 44, began to worry when the pain became so bad she couldn’t sleep.
But they could never have prepared themselves for the devastating news that followed.
Viv said: “I thought I had a bug but I was waking Paul up at 3am asking him to massage my temples because the pain was so bad.
“Luckily, my GP took me seriously and they gave me a CT scan. Ten days later, I was told it was a cancerous brain tumour and I’d need radiotherapy.
“I was devastated – it was like being punched in the stomach. I was a young mum and I never thought anything like it would happen to me.
“I just felt so alone. I’d never heard of anyone who had brain cancer at 32 and I was terrified I would never see my son grow up.”
Viv had 33 sessions of radiotherapy and was given a life expectancy of five years.
But she has enjoyed good health since her treatment and has founded a support group for brain tumour sufferers in her area.
She added: “I wouldn’t say I’d had the all-clear but I’ve had good health for the last few years and feel blessed to have reached my 40th birthday.
“My tumour was only detected as it had a pocket of fluid around it that was causing the headaches.
“It could have been a different story and it’s because I’m one of the lucky ones I’ve done this.
“I had a good job but my illness made me rethink things and I realised spending time with my family was more important than going on two holidays a year.
“I had to stay positive for Euan but I was determined that cancer wouldn’t ruin my life.
“The cookbook was a lot of work but handing over a big cheque to Brain Tumour UK made it worthwhile.
“Research into brain tumours is underfunded, so it’s important to raise awareness of the condition. I hope people remember that every time they open the book.”