Beloved Fife teacher’s family play waiting game after stem cell treatment

Rab Dickson
Rab Dickson
  • Hope continues
  • Support for Rab
  • Family’s confidence

A waiting game has begun for the family of a much-loved former art teacher with a life-threatening degenerative condition.

Rab Dickson (68) has recently returned from a trip to San Diego, where he underwent foetal stem cell treatment.

It’s a hard thing to witness

Janey Kirk

Rab, who taught art at Glenrothes and Buckhaven High Schools before his retirement, was recently diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a condition with symptoms similar to both Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Stem cell treatment is thought to provide the closest thing to a remedy for the illness, which was thought to be incurable.

However, Rab and his wife, Janey Kirk, the well-known East Wemyss singer, stage performer and TV music show host, have been told it could take three to six months for any positive effects to become known.

And, while the process takes effect, his condition may get worse before it gets better.

Janey said there were days when Rab was absolutely settled and more aware of situations around him.

He was still able to attend some of her live performances, which was a great comfort to her.

However, while the stem cells were “re-wiring and kicking in”, this could have an adverse effect, she added.

He was also very prone to delusions and hallucinations, which were very vivid.

Janey said she hoped Rab would be less “tormented” as the treatment took effect.

And, even if it did not work, they had the consolation of knowing they made an effort.

“It’s too soon to be making judgements,” said Janey.

“It’s extremely difficult to live with him sometimes but I know I am going to stick with him throughout this.

“If – and it’s a big ‘if’ – things don’t improve, then at least we tried, and so did all his pupils and our friends, family, and everybody, so it was worth it.”

She added: “Time is of the essence.

“It’s a hard thing to witness and a horrible thing to wait on – but it is his life.”

Friends, relatives, former colleagues and ex-pupils of Rab’s have rallied round with messages of encouragement and good wishes, as well as supporting a number of fund-raising ventures on Rab’s behalf.

Janey and Rab are very grateful for all the help and Janey has asked anyone who wants to contact them to sent a personal message to her Facebook page.

People from as far back in time as around 1972 had been in touch, said Janey, claiming Rab had made a huge impression on them and they would not be where they were today had it not been for him.

That, she said, was a “great thing”.

“It’s a learning curve for the whole family,” she added. “They want to see him better.”