Belfast Telegraph

Going bandanas for brain tumour awareness drive

VICTORIA O'HARA

TOP chefs are using their heads to help an inspirational 17-year-old living with a brain tumour raise awareness of the condition.

Danielle McGriskin, from Lisburn, was diagnosed with a benign tumour in 2011 and has been campaigning ever since.

Now she has cooked up a novel plan to get restaurant diners talking about a topic not often raised around the table – thanks to local chefs.

For Brain Tumour Awareness Month staff at local restaurants have been wearing colourful bandanas at work.

The idea behind the project – Bandanas For Brain Tumours Day – was to create a conversation among customers about the symptoms of brain tumours.

She set up The Danielle McGriskin Fund in 2012 after being diagnosed in July 2011 with a low grade brain tumour and hydrocephalus (water on the brain) caused by the tumour.

Chefs and kitchen staff at Home, Mourne Seafood, Coppi, Il Pirata, The Barking Dog and Boojum in Botanic Avenue and Chichester Street are supporting her charity.

It is just the latest project of the Co Antrim teenager. One of her first fundraisers was the Danielle McGriskin Fund Wristband. So far Danielle, a Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference Award winner in 2013, has raised over £40,000.

All the money supports brain tumour research and awareness of symptoms.

"I am delighted that some of the best restaurants in Belfast have come out in force to support Brain Tumour Awareness Month and Bandanas For Brain Tumours Day," said Danielle.

"Just this week, the Brian Tumour Charity launched the Research Impact Report, which highlights the progress the charity is making to improve the quality of life and survival rates of people with a brain tumour."

Michael Fletcher, general manager for Thorny Hill Restaurants, which runs Il Pirata, Coppi and The Barking Dog, said everyone was happy to help. "We noticed that the bandanas really did get people talking and I'm sure the staff will continue to wear them."

Danielle, who blogs about her daily journey on her Facebook and Twitter sites, is also campaigning for every school in Northern Ireland to be given symptom cards for parents.

"It is important that parents are aware of the symptoms of brain tumours as it is the biggest cancer killer of children and young adults under 40," she explained.

It took a year for Danielle to get her diagnosis despite having definite symptoms of a brain tumour.

Her condition requires her travelling to Bristol for treatment unavailable here.

PROFILE

Danielle McGriskin was diagnosed with a benign tumour in 2011 aged 14. The 17-year-old blogs about her journey via her personal webpage, Facebook and Twitter account. As well as sharing stories of her medical progress to date she campaigns and informs about fundraising projects.

Since starting her charity work she has raised £40,000.

In 2013 she received a Diana Courageous Citizen award in Parliament Buildings at Stormont and was also awarded a Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference accolade.

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