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Tragic teen's heartbroken pals chip in to raise cash for charity in his memory

By Claire McNeilly

Published 25/02/2016

Brendan McGlone with Peter Canavan
Brendan McGlone with Peter Canavan
Brendan McGlone with Paddy Barnes
Tommy Bowe also paid Brendan a visit
Conor McGregor
Teachers Marc Clements and Ciara McAkasney and Odhran Kelly with a cheque for Angel Wishes

A sports-mad teenager didn't get his dying wish - but his heartbroken friends have clubbed together to raise thousands of pounds so that others may get theirs.

Brendan McGlone died on July 6 last year, 10 months after being diagnosed with stem cell leukaemia, without getting a chance to meet his hero, the cage fighting star Conor McGregor.

During a phone call prior to his death, the Dubliner had promised to show the youngster his belt when he returned to Ireland after his bout with Jose Aldo in Las Vegas. But his brother Ruairi (20) told the Belfast Telegraph that time ran out before his youngest sibling could meet McGregor and revealed that his friends had raised over £4,000 for Angel Wishes, Brendan's favourite charity.

"Conor phoned Brendan just before he was supposed to fight Aldo," said Ruairi.

"He told Brendan he'd win it for him but Brendan passed away before he could see the fight - and before he could meet Conor in person.

"After he died his friends wanted to raise money in his memory so everyone chipped in and they recently presented a cheque for £4,056.30 to Angel Wishes."

Brendan's brave battle also touched the hearts of a variety of local sports stars including All-Ireland winning captain Peter Canavan, Belfast Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes and Ireland rugby star Tommy Bowe, all of whom visited him during his illness.

Ruairi, an All-Ireland-winning U-21 GAA star, said Brendan, who received treatment at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, had travelled to Bristol in January for a bone marrow transplant.

However, he said his family, who have a farm between Caledon and Aughnacloy in Co Tyrone, was told to prepare for the worst shortly after the operation.

"He spent a month in hospital in England but then they discovered the leukaemia had returned and he was flown back to the Royal the night before the U-21 All Ireland final, which I was playing in," he said.

"A week later the doctor told us that it was a very aggressive strain of leukaemia and there was nothing they could do."

He added: "Brendan knew how sick he was but he didn't like people seeing that he was upset. He always had a smile on his face. He was always happy. He thought if he was sad he'd be making other people sad."

The University of Ulster student said Brendan's death hit his other brother Jody (18), 23-year-old sister Colleen and his parents Rodney and Doreen, who are in their mid-50s, hard.

"It's still very tough on all of us, particularly mammy and daddy," he said.

"You can see it in their faces. They still visit the grave every day. He's buried at the chapel a mile and a half down the road."

Gaye Kerr, who established Angel Wishes NI in memory of her twins Brian and Helen, said the charity's aim is to grant wishes to children fighting illness.

"We sent Brendan gifts during his illness," she said.

"Brendan being Brendan wanted to help others. He knew I set up Angel Wishes in memory of my children and the fact that he wanted to help is very touching.

"In my heart I feel that through Angel Wishes Brendan will live on in the smiles of others."

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