A BELOVED Clydebank teacher is on track for a bone marrow match to save his life.

Graham Simpson was diagnosed with blood cancer Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in November and Clydebank High mobilised a massive support and fundraising effort to back him as he underwent chemotherapy.

The chemistry and pastoral care teacher, known as Dr Simpson to pupils, has been home since Christmas and putting on weight to prepare for the potential bone marrow transplant next month after a possible match was found in Switzerland.

Pupils themselves signed up to the Anthony Nolan Trust donor registry in December to help others around the world as well as a huge charity drive, including an 800-pupil Santa dash.

Within weeks, pupils and Dr Simpson’s JustGiving page pulled in £22,340, which was presented to the Beatson last month to thank them for all their care.

The hospital said it was one of the largest sums ever donated by a school.

Dr Simpson, 55, said: “When the school suggested raising funds for the Beatson I was so pleased we could put something back into a local hospital. 

“I thought our initial target of £5,000 was very ambitious but I knew he pupils would rise to the challenge. 

“Well three months after the initial idea I couldn’t believe the total that was raised – £22,340 is a simply staggering amount for a school and community to have raised. Well done Bankies.

“People’s kindness and generosity has been amazing. I have had so many messages of support from pupils, former pupils, parents, staff, family, friends and the wider community which keeps your spirits up when you’re feeling a bit low.”

He added: “I know that this money will make a real difference in the fight against cancer and I’m so proud of the pupils of Clydebank High for what they have achieved.”

Pupils, staff and Dr Simpson have been raising awareness as well as money.

Shelley McKay, an S6 pupil at Clydebank High who signed up to be a donor and helped present the cheque to the Beatson, said: “This is the first time I’ve been in the Beatson and I can’t believe what a relaxed, friendly environment it is. What they do here makes such a difference to so many peoples’ lives, it’s incredible.”

Dr Simpson’s wife and depute head teacher at Clydebank High Lorraine Simpson told the Post it was “just amazing” having him home.

She said: “What a difference to my life having him there. You’re a wee hamster on a wheel and you fall back into that routine. You have to remember this has happened. It just could be the normal life we had before.”

But Dr Simpson still faces a long recovery, even if the transplant is successful. 

He can’t visit the school and couldn’t even travel on the minibus with pupils to the Beatson for the presentation for the risk of infection. But he’s out walking in the park every day and otherwise keeping safe at home.

The money to the Beatson will help their wellbeing centre, where Dr Simpson got numerous breaks and support, describing it as an “oasis of tranquility”. It offers massages, coffee and biscuits or even a haircut to help face hospital treatments.

A spokesperson for the Beatson said: “This is the largest sum of money that any school has ever donated and we are completely blown away by everyone’s generosity.”

If you would still like to donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/dash-for-the-doc to donate to the efforts to text a donation to DFTD54.