Bannockburn teen makes headlines as birthday message turns into TikTok hit
A teenage boy from Bannockburn – the only person in Scotland with a rare genetic disorder – went viral after receiving a special birthday message on TikTok.
Calum McPherson, 15, lives with the CHAMP1 gene mutation, which causes severe language difficulties.
Calum is one of around 109 children around the world known to have the CHAMP1 mutation – there are no others in Scotland and eight across the UK – most of whom are connected through a Stacey Facebook group .
As part of the celebrations leading up to his birthday on Sunday, Stacey asked STV news anchors John Mackay and Kelly-Ann Woodland if they would record a special greeting for the big day.
And the pair of moderators delivered the goods, with Calum’s astonished reaction to the birthday message that was shared on the video platform, where it has already garnered more than 60,000 views since Sunday.
Mama Stacey said, “His face just literally lit up and he just loved it – he thinks he’ll be on the STV news every night now!
“As Calum got older he didn’t really care about his birthday, but he loves parties and especially when it comes to him.
“I asked all of my friends and family if they wouldn’t mind sending him a birthday video and everyone was so nice and managed to post on STV News. The DJ Ewan MacVicar also sent him something on Twitter, which was just amazing. “
Stacey serves on the board of the CHAMP1 Research Foundation, established by an American family of another child living with the disease, and attended a special conference in Glasgow last year that brought CHAMP1-affected families to Scotland from around the world.
She now hopes that drug trials taking place in the US may provide hope for a solution that could improve aspects of the condition, including language.
Stacey added, “TikTok is actually a really good platform to raise awareness about CHAMP1 and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the video had so many views.
“It will hopefully allow us to maintain attention for CHAMP1, and I also changed my name on TikTok from my own name to ‘weraisechamp1ons’ to get that link – it’s all about being down with the kids!”