Belfast Telegraph

Laid to rest, Vikki McKeown (25) who'd been planning wedding before illness

By Nevin Farrell

Hundreds of mourners paid their respects at the funeral of a Belfast bride-to-be whose life was tragically cut short by a brain tumour.

Vikki McKeown, just 25, was engaged to be married to fiance James Wright.

But she died last Tuesday, just weeks after receiving her diagnosis.

A funeral service was held in Ballysillan on Saturday before a piper led her to her final resting place at Carnmoney Cemetery on the outskirts of the city.

Her uncle Dougie McKeown spoke at the funeral service at Vikki's home in Carrs Glen Park, and afterwards members of the Pride of Shankill Flute Band, which she had belonged to, helped carry her coffin.

Ms McKeown is survived by her bus driver father Gary, mum Sharon, sister Reah and fiance.

Just days before Vikki passed away the Shankill band gave an impromptu performance outside her home in a bid to lift her spirits.

And they played a key role at her funeral.

On Saturday the band said on Facebook: "Such a great turnout today for our Vikki, great respect shown.

"Some band members attended in full uniform, with our wreaths.

"It's not goodbye, just goodnight. Until we meet again."

Vikki, a final year occupational therapy student, was planning her wedding to James when she began suffering from what GPs thought were panic attacks.

But following a seizure in April she was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and had surgery less than a week later.

Her family was told that if Vikki had waited another 24 hours before the procedure she would have likely died.

The family raised thousands of pounds for an alkaline water pump to try and slow the growth of cancer cells in her body.

In a post on her fundraising page, Reah had described her younger sibling as a "good and caring person". "When told by doctors that it was a grade four (the worst), that it would come back and that she would have to go through a lot of treatment, her question to them was: 'Will I ever be able to give blood again?'" Reah wrote.

"They told her they didn't think so, and also (she needed) to be slightly selfish and that she needed her own blood at the minute.

"To me that was the most selfless question, still caring about others.

"But from a child Vikki has always been like that - a strong and caring person.

"She holds us together."

Donations in lieu of flowers at Vikki's funeral were to Brainwaves NI.

It is a charity that is dedicated to providing support and information to all those affected by brain tumours - patients, their families, friends and carers.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph