Dad’s dream to watch sisters race at Tokyo 2020
THE father of Sunshine Coast swimming sensations Taylor and Kaylee McKeown says his goal is to live to see his daughters compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year.
After suffering a severe headache, Sholto McKeown, 52, was told by doctors he had a glioblastoma - with a life expectancy of two years - in June before being rushed in for emergency brain surgery to remove a majority of the tumour and undergoing radiation and chemotherapy in the months that followed.
While the family were "shattered" by the shock news, they refused to let it ruin their lives and banded together determined to beat the rare and aggressive form of cancer.
"We try to make life as normal as we can - I don't like talking about it and I don't like dwelling on it," Sholto said.
"We're all in the ring beating this together and I have got great hopes to beat it.
"It's not the end of your life, life carries on and cancer can be part of that journey.
"I would love to see my daughters race in the Tokyo Olympics - there in the back of my mind is a goal to get to."
Previously a fly-in, fly-out mechanical fitter, he was left unable to work and was forced to sell his boat and car as he was unable to operate them due to the risk of seizures.
In the wake of his diagnosis, Sholto's family, friends and community quickly rallied around him, with daughter Taylor, 23, launching a GoFundMe page with the aim of raising $5,000 to assist with the family's skyrocketing medical bills.
"It was extremely sad when we found out because we were just like 'this has just shattered us' but now we're like 'onwards and upwards'," Taylor said.
"Having a negative attitude won't improve the situation so there's no point in wasting time on that and we've just gone full steam ahead saying 'what can we do to turn this around?'"
After ending up with more than $17,000, the family decided they wanted to give back and help others affected by cancer, teaming up with the Mark Hughes Foundation for Brain Cancer to host Sholto's Hope McKeown Charity Fundraiser on October 20.
With the aim of raising much needed money to help find a cure for the disease, the event will feature performances by The Voice and All Together Now star Ellen Reed, will be attended by the McKeown sisters fellow Australian Dolphins swimmers Emily Seebohm, Cameron McEvoy, Tessa Wallace and Jake Packard, and feature auction items including a pair of soccer spikes signed by Usain Bolt and Libby Trickett's signed fastskin from the Beijing Olympics.
"I have been really overwhelmed by the support (of the swimming community) because I know how hectic their schedules are and they're in between competitions," Taylor, who is recovering from knee surgery, said.
Reed said she wanted to help her friends in any way she could.
"It has turned into this awesome event that has really seen the community come together," she said.
Kaylee McKeown, 17, is currently overseas representing Australia in the The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics.
To buy tickets to the Sholto's Hope fundraiser at the Caloundra Events Centre on October 20 visit: theeventscentre.com.au
To buy tickets for the Sholto's Hope Raffle visit: raffletix.com.au