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Belfast cancer battle mum Aundrea Bannatyne cherishing Christmas with 'her darling boys'

Brave Aundrea Bannatyne thanks supporters for raising cash for cancer treatment

By Angela Rainey

A mother given a year to live is beating the odds by spending Christmas with her family - thanks to community support.

East Belfast woman Aundrea Bannatyne was in July told the devastating news that an inoperable tumour was wrapped around her pancreas, and secondary lesions were in her liver.

But determined not to be beaten, the 42-year-old, from Dundonald, sought out support from friends and family, who formed a #aundreasarmy campaign to organise events to raise vital funds for private treatment at the Hallwang Clinic in Germany.

The appeal for Aundrea, a manager for Thomas Cook, soon gathered momentum, raising more than £120,000 so far.

The Hallwang Clinic is known for its advanced treatments, but they are not cheap - just one injection costs £9,000.

Aundrea said she was overwhelmed by the support. "It's unbelievable - people of all ages have come up with fantastic fundraising ideas," she added.

"They've all been brilliant. It's been truly amazing the lengths people have gone to to help raise the money, and I cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity.

"Hundreds of people here, in Scotland and so many other places have organised and taken part in so many events.

"The funds mean I can receive treatment to help spend more time with my children, who are my world.

"So I want everyone to know how thankful I am for everything that has been done."

Although the treatment has been tough, with Aundrea admitted to hospital many times because of side-effects, the optimistic mum is looking forward to spending Christmas with the "loves of her life", sons Jack (14) and James (10).

"There have been some difficult times, but I am a positive person and remain upbeat thanks to a good support network around me," she said.

"I will be pleased to get up on Christmas morning and see the excitement on my sons' faces as they open their presents. The fundraising has made this possible, and I want to say thank you and wish a merry Christmas to all who made it possible."

Aundrea's diagnosis was the second to hit the family.

James was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour at the age of two.

Eight years on, he is nearly in remission and remains an inspiration to his mother as she continues her fight.

So far, Aundrea had attended two appointments at the Hallwang Clinic, with another week-long trip organised for the new year.

A total of £200,000 is needed, and fundraising will continue until the target is met.

Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/2gtranmq

Belfast Telegraph

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