Gala ball held for Annie

Annie O'Neill
Annie O'Neill

Local woman Grainne O’Neill who set up a charity in her mother’s name, after she died of pancreatic cancer is hoping to raise up to £30,000 this year.

Grainne, 22, is holding a gala ball at the Europa Hotel on October 17, and her charity called ‘Fight for Annie’ which was set up last October has already raised £22,000.

Grainne, who has held a number of fundraising events, trekked the Great Wall of China, and has even persuaded actor Jamie Dornan, whose mother also died of the cancer, to wear one of the charities bracelets.

The Lambeg woman, set up the charity to raise awareness and money for Pancreatic Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Action.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Only 3% of pancreatic cancer patients survive the disease for five years or more. In Northern Ireland in 2012, there were 244 cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed and 243 pancreatic cancer deaths.

Grainne, who works in events and management is aiming for purple to be associated with pancreatic charity just like pink is linked with breast cancer.

The fund was set up in October 2014, after her mother Annie from Armagh lost her short battle with pancreatic cancer earlier that year.

Her mother was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in summer 2013 and passed away seven months later in January 2014, at the age of 54. “I wanted to help my mum in some way,” said Grainne. “My mum was the best mother in the world. She would often tell us if anything happened to her she would not have wanted us to feel sorry for her.

“She wanted us to do something positive for her. I couldn’t do anything medically so I decided to put my energy into fundraising.

“I do not want another family to go through the heartbreak of what our family has had to go through.” Grainne said she would also like to help doctors to detect the disease.

“My mother was diagnosed with a kidney infection for some weeks. She had a lot of aches and pains and it was put down to a flu. She was treated for a kidney infection and given anti biotics. When it still had not cleared she had an MRi and an ultra scan which revealed she had pancreatic cancer.” Tickets for the event are £55 per person. To buy tickets ring Grainne on 07754566157.