Renton goes en fete for Arin
By Bill Heaney
Politics was never far from the surface when Renton began its Christmas celebrations early on Saturday.
But then, it never is – as is community spirit and kindness – in the village where the local public house was once called The Kind Man.
I am told the villagers had “a brilliant time” with table top sales in The John Connolly Centre.
And that the aikido demonstration and dancing display attracted a large, appreciative audience in the same venue.
The side-lines were packed at Tontine Park for the Craigandro spectacular which involved a football match between club coaches and under 14s.
Arin Kirilmaz, pictured right, who was diagnosed with a rare throat cancer two weeks ago and is facing travelling thousands of miles for specialist cancer treatment, performed the switch-on of the Christmas tree with Community Party councillor, Jim Bollan.
Arin, 14, is undergoing intense chemo-therapy 24 hours a day in a bid to beat it, and his supporters, who call themselves ‘Arin’s Army’, have now launched a £10,000 campaign to enable him and his parents Eileen and Hakki, to travel overseas for the pioneering 10-week treatment.
Despite the tough road ahead for Arin, his mother, Eileen, 51, says he is the driving force behind his family’s positive attitude.
Eileen said her son is not going to let this beat him.
Arin was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma – a rare cancer which affects only 250 people a year – on October 11 after complaining he was suffering from headaches.
The Vale of Leven Academy pupil is now spending six days at a time in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where he gets around the clock chemotherapy treatment.
Eileen added that the intense chemotherapy makes him so sick and it’s so difficult to be strong when you’re cradling your son while he is throwing up and telling you his body feels like it’s burning.
Arin’s chemotherapy will come to an end in February and he will then undergo the proton beam therapy, which is only available in Germany or the USA. He will have to leave his twin brother Leon at home with family members.
There is a Just Giving Page, called Arin’s Army, which has already raised £6,381… and counting.
Hundreds of people across West Dunbartonshire are also helping to host fundraising events to help the family reach their target.
Eileen and Hakki have been left overwhelmed by the response, which has even prompted strangers to hand donations in to their home.
Some of the highlights from Renton’s big day.
Cllr Bollan, who stood by Arin while he switched on the fairy lights, urged people to help the Kirilmaz family.
The Renton events were swiftly and efficiently organised after the community rallied round to thumb their noses at the SNP, Tory, Independent coalition who decided to chop the communal Christmas tree as part of their programme of swingeing service cuts.
Community Party activist Drew MacEoghainn told The Democrat: “We had a great day. It’s been agreed that the groups will all come together again to arrange next year’s event.”
He added: “Maybe if this incompetent administration had informed us earlier of this desperate bid to cut costs by stealing the Renton’s tree we could have had something bigger arranged.
“It says it all that the people elected to represent our community are yet again silent as their colleagues in the SNP butcher another service in Renton.
“What ever happened to councillors being elected to represent the community that put them into power?
“It seems that the SNP councillors who begged Rentonians to vote for them have subsequently stabbed us in the back and taken our votes for granted.”
Craigandro supporter, Louise McGinlay, from Bellsmyre, Dumbarton, is putting the arrangements in place for a Christmas food bank.
She said: “Renton Craigandro food bank collection has been a great success the past couple of years.
“Donations being accepted at training at Bellsmyre campus as of next Monday 3rd December.
“I am happy to receive donations any time and take them there – also previous years Facebook family and friends transferred money to me and I fired out to Aldi and worked wonders with it. I’m happy to do this again. Help us help others much less fortunate than we are at Christmas. Thanks in advance kind hearted people.”