Belfast Telegraph

Living life on the edge in memory of adrenaline-loving teenager Callan

By Amanda Ferguson

It's a family living on the edge - and for a very good reason.

Friends and relatives of Callan McErlain have transformed themselves into hardcore adrenaline junkies in memory of the teenager who died last year.

So it's been an action-packed year of sky-diving, dancing, hiking, running, swimming, cycling and much more to raise cash for cancer charities in the 16-year-old's name.

Callan, from Armoy, died on June 17, 2013, just seven weeks after being diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer.

It is most commonly found in males aged 15-20, with only a handful of children in the UK developing it each year.

His heartbroken sister Tamara (19) set about fundraising in memory of her adrenaline-loving brother.

And she roped in a few others to help by pushing their comfort zones.

So far Tamara has jumped out of a plane and scaled Slieve Donard, as well as running, swimming and cycling to help Team 338 raise an impressive £50,000 for Friends of the Cancer Centre and CLIC Sargent.

Raising funds under the name Team 338 was chosen by the McErlain family as this was the race number Callan, a talented motocross racer and mountain bike rider, used at events. Before his death Callan had wanted to take part in a skydive, so Tamara and the brave Team 338 crew did it for him at an event in Garvagh.

"We are amazed, we never expected to raise so much so thank to everyone for being so generous," Tamara said.

"It was fantastic. Everybody jumped. Nobody pulled out. It was really good. We know he would have loved it."

Last month's first anniversary of Callan's death was an emotional milestone for Tamara and her parents Paula and Terence.

"We went mountain biking because that is what he liked," Tamara said.

The teenager badly misses her "wee brother" who she said "loved anything with adrenaline, being outside in the muck and giving things a go".

With that in mind, they have a new series of fresh challenges in the pipeline.

"We have an event every weekend," Tamara said. "We are thinking of a barn dance, going to the Ulster Rally and the Festival of Speed at Balmoral."

In September Callan's mother will be taking part in the Motorscape Banger Rally across Europe.

"Mummy and two of her friends will be crossing 12 countries in 10 days," Tamara added.

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Relentless campaign covers land, sea and air

The Team 338 fund-raising campaign in tribute to Callan McErlain (16) from Armoy has been relentless.

Over the last year it has included a formal at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle, a New Year's Day swim, a sky dive in Garvagh, plus cycling, hiking up Slieve Donard and the Belfast Marathon.

So far £50,000 has been raised for Friends of the Cancer Centre and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Upcoming events include a barn dance, visiting the Ulster Rally and Festival of Speed at Balmoral. Callan's mother Paula is taking part in the Motorscape Banger Rally across Europe this September. This year's funds will be raised for Friends of the Cancer Centre and CLIC Sargent.

Belfast Telegraph


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