Belfast Telegraph

Down footballer remembered with pride as £234,000 is gifted to charities

Siobhan’s siblings Grainne and Ciaran and her parents Brendan and Geraldine with friend Bria Cunningham at Saturday’s tournament at St John’sbenefits
Siobhan’s siblings Grainne and Ciaran and her parents Brendan and Geraldine with friend Bria Cunningham at Saturday’s tournament at St John’sbenefits
Siobhan McCann
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The family of a Co Down footballer who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year are keeping her memory alive by supporting charities and organisations she chose prior to her death.

Well over £200,000 was donated to Siobhan McCann to help fund potentially life-prolonging treatment for her that was not available on the NHS.

The 26-year-old from Clanvaraghan outside Castlewellan passed away in May.

She had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer while working as a physiotherapist for the London-based Fulham Irish GAA in April 2018.

Having moved home to be with her family while undergoing treatment, three months later she was told the cancer had spread to her liver and surgery was no longer an option.

Last Saturday a Gaelic football tournament was held in her memory with 24 teams from across Ireland and Britain taking part in the ladies' sevens event at her home club, St John's GAC in Drumnaquoile.

Siobhan had played with St John's since the age of five, representing her county from U16 to senior level.

She also played for Dulwich Harps while based in London.

During the tournament the McCann family revealed the seven charities and organisations which helped her through her illness and will benefit from the funds totalling £234,432 remaining after her death.

The largest donation goes to the Macdermott Oncology Haematology Day Unit at the Ulster Hospital, and Macmillan, which will receive £101,232 towards 16 new chemotherapy chairs.

The Cancer Fund for Children receives £50,000 to be used for therapeutic breaks for 40 families at its Daisy Lodge facility in Newcastle, while the NI Hospice has been given £14,700 for specialist care.

The Friends of the Cancer Centre receives £37,500 for complementary therapies and clinical nurse specialists, and £11,000 for the Little Princesses Trust will be used to make 20 real hair wigs for children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment

Castlewellan and Newcastle district nurses receive £12,000, while Donard Family Practice benefits from £8,000. Siobhan's family said the donations were a way of "keeping Siobhan's memory alive".

They said: "We thank all of the people who contributed in so many various ways over the past 18 months by giving Siobhan and ourselves such unbelievable support, both spiritually and physically, during that period of time and which is still ongoing.

"Your generosity throughout the fundraising campaign for Siobhan's cancer treatment was a credit to everyone involved in organising events.

"This was a phenomenal show of support for Siobhan and we thank everyone again from the bottom of our hearts."

Siobhan's friend Cormac Mullan said the event was "not to mourn the loss of Siobhan, but to celebrate her life".

"Throughout Siobhan's year-long battle with cancer she received so much love and support, both financially and emotional," he explained.

"The fundraisers gave Siobhan the financial and mental support to keep going."

He added: "Without the Avastin drug, which was funded through the various fundraisers and donations, and the love and emotional support Siobhan received she would have lost her battle with cancer a lot earlier. So from myself and all Siobhan's family and friends we thank you all so much for giving us that extra few months with her."

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