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Kids honoured at youth cancer event

Everest climber on hand to present awards

By Kathryn Torney

Young people affected by cancer across Northern Ireland have been honoured at a special awards ceremony.

Local mountaineer Terence 'Banjo' Bannon, who has successfully climbed Mount Everest, presented awards at The Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children event.

The Newry man gave out awards to 25 young people who have had cancer, as well as young people whose brothers or sisters have undergone treatment for the disease.

The recipients of the awards have all been helped by the children's cancer charity's youth support services.

The event, which took place at Ballymena's Galgorm Manor Hotel, was organised to recognise young people who have completed Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Open College Network courses in Youth Work.

Young people who produced and directed the charity's 'Spikey' film - an animated production to help kids with cancer get back to school after diagnosis and treatment - were also presented with awards.

Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children Youth Programme manager Peter Topping said: "We were delighted to present these awards to young people from all over Northern Ireland and in doing so, to mark their success in a number of practical and creative fields.

"One of our aims is to help the young people we work with regain their confidence after a period of cancer treatment.

"As well as being fun, completing a project to win an award is part of the process and we have seen a real improvement in the confidence of those involved."

The Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children provides services that offer practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people aged up to and including 21, who have been diagnosed with cancer, and their families.

'Banjo' Bannon commented: "The young adults who received awards are special and brave young people who have been through a lot.

"Climbing the world's highest mountains takes willpower and strength, but I am humbled by the strength these young people have shown in coming to terms with cancer and achieving such fantastic goals. They are an inspiration."

Around 500 children and young people across the province are currently going through or have just finished treatment for cancer and it is estimated that 1,500 siblings are living with the disease.

Every week in Northern Ireland, two more families receive the news that their child has been diagnosed with cancer.

Belfast Telegraph


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