Small change could help make a big difference

Raising awareness of the Eilish Degnan Cancer Foundation are Gerald, Shannelle, John and Natasha Degnan with Dorothy Burgess and Ruth Sturdy   INNT 15-417-RM
Raising awareness of the Eilish Degnan Cancer Foundation are Gerald, Shannelle, John and Natasha Degnan with Dorothy Burgess and Ruth Sturdy INNT 15-417-RM
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A WHITEABBEY charity which provides special day trips and short breaks for children and young people suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses has appealed to local people to back its fundraising efforts by collecting and donating their loose change.

Gerald Degnan founded the Eilish Degnan Cancer Foundation in memory of his mother following her death after a long battle with cancer in June 2008. And over the last few years the Glenville man, his family, and a loyal group of friends and volunteers have been working hard to fulfil the charity’s aim of bringing a little happiness into the lives of children suffering from serious and terminal illnesses.

“We’ll have been going four years this August, and during that time we’ve helped 92 children and their families,” Gerald explained. “We’ve paid for kids to go to Disneyland Paris, to shows, concerts, on limo rides, to the pantomime, to sporting events - all sorts of trips and VIP treats, not only for the kids, but also for their families and their carers to go with them.”

As well as hosting regular fundraising events such as their annual sponsored walk and cabaret nights, the charity also operates a weekly stall at St George’s Market in Belfast. However, in a bid to boost their fundraising capabilities further and help generate a more regular income, Gerald is hoping to have a charity shop up and running within the next couple of years. But in order to fulfil that dream, the Foundation needs money for premises, a van and a storage unit.

Stressing that all the money that comes into the charity is used to pay for trips and short breaks for children with life-threatening illnesses, Gerald is appealing to local people to help raise vital funds by taking one of the charity’s collection tins and putting it in their home.

“A lot of the pubs, clubs, hotels and shops we’ve been to have already had more than enough charity collection tins so we’ve found it a struggle to get our collection tins out there,” he told the Times. “So we’re asking any individuals who want to take one and put it in their home for a couple of months to do so and to just put in their coppers or loose change or whatever - all donations will be gratefully received.”

Anyone who would like to take a collection tin and put it in their home or business should telephone Gerald on 07724 746944.

For more information about the charity’s work and upcoming fundraising activities, log on to the website: www.eilish-degnan-cancer-foundation.org