Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
As many of you will know, my daughter Catherine died of a rare form of Leukaemia in September 2013. This came out of nowhere, and she was dead within a week of diagnosis. She had been in perfect health, loved riding, had just filled in her university application, and was focussed on a career as a scientist. This tragedy has had a huge impact on me, my family, and Catherine‘s friends and teachers at Strathearn School. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of the people of Northern Ireland, both connected to work, and through school, and friends and neighbours. This has been a real support to us over this difficult period. We were also hugely grateful for the work of the dedicated, compassionate and professional medical staff at City and Royal Victoria Hospitals.
We want to give something meaningful back to the local community. As those who know me would expect, I have researched this carefully. Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI (LALNI) is the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to fighting blood cancer. They support research at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at City Hospital/QUB. I have spent some time at this centre seeing for myself both the work of a highly dedicated and enthusiastic group of scientists and staff, and the commitment and drive of Professor Ken Mills (of QUB) who heads it. The immense value of their work is obvious; it directly helps the people of NI, and links into research elsewhere in the UK and worldwide. Surprising as it may seem, they are almost entirely dependent on charitable donations, the spending of which is closely supervised by a panel of medical and scientific experts in the field.
We want to do what we can to support this work over the longer term, and this is my first stab at fundraising. I am running the Mourne Way Marathon on 7 June with my brother-in-law Jeremy. Although I do run a bit, this is going to be hard. It is one of the toughest marathons in the UK. Can you help me raise some money for LALNI either through sponsoring me, or simply because the work LALNI supports is vitally important? I’d be really grateful but, much more importantly, so would the team of scientists in Belfast. It would have been Catherine’s 18th birthday this week (28 May), and this feels a good time to make a start on doing something of real value in her memory. She wanted to be a scientist and would have loved the lab in Belfast that LALNI supports, and so it seems particularly appropriate to support this life saving work. Thank you.
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