Ross McEwen, the Scottish Formula Ford Champion in 2012, who has since raced sports and GT cars, both contemporary and classic, throughout the UK and Europe, has taken on a significant new challenge.
In August 2019 Ross, then aged 29, was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer. After a series of blood transfusions, several rounds of chemotherapy and total body irradiation, he was ready for a stem cell (or bone marrow) transplant to drive out the cancerous cells in his blood. The global search for a suitable stem cell donor was coordinated by the UK based Anthony Nolan charity. Theyfound a young, male donor with an ideal blood type match on the west coast of the USA who donated his stem cells at a local clinic. Anthony Nolan then arranged for a courier to bring them to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow where the transplant occurred in January 2020. There then followed a difficult period with weight loss, side effects and the ever present risk of infection (made even worse by the emergence of Covid 19) but, 18 months later, Ross has recovered and returned to racing.
You can see more of Ross’s story and his campaign at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sc5000 but his objectives are to:
- increase awareness of the work of Anthony Nolan and to encourage those in the critical 16- 30 age group to sign on as potential stem cell donors;
- raise funds for the work Anthony Nolan do in Scotland;
- motivate people to commit to keeping fit and healthy as a means of not only getting more out of life but also as preparation for fighting illness and disease.
Ross has paid tribute to the owners and staff at Knockhill who have helped his recovery by arranging for him to safely attend events such as the BTCC as a guest and to have some track time to motivate him to keep moving forward in his recovery programme. He said “My dad, who also races, and I have had a long relationship with the Butcher family who own Knockhill and the management team there. I am grateful for the support they have given me during my treatment and, as I am once again based in Scotland, I hope to continue to attend Knockhill events and race there again in the years ahead”