Inspirational sisters raise money to help people like their Mummy
When Jemma Roleston from Dromara was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 her two young girls, Katelyn (11) and Chloe (9), were determined to do whatever they could to support Macmillan Cancer Support, the charity that helped their Mummy.
Katelyn has just completed a sponsored haircut bringing their on-going fundraising total to almost £2,500
Jemma says that her cancer diagnosis was the start of a difficult time for her family, but that they got through it together: “We had lots of ups and downs during my treatment, and my husband Ernie and I were as open and honest with Katelyn and Chloe as we could be. The girls visited me in hospital and we talked to them a lot about what was happening so that they knew they could share whatever they were feeling.
“I had a lot of support from Macmillan including information and advice, and access to services and therapies. That’s what inspired their fundraising - they saw how much Macmillan had helped us and wanted to do their bit to help others. They are a very determined pair haven’t stopped since!”
Katelyn and Chloe initially sold hand-made sweetie cones to their family, school-friends and neighbours, raising over £2,000 after Jemma shared their idea on Facebook.
“Ernie and I were so proud of them – it was their idea and they worked their socks off to keep the fundraising going. We couldn’t believe how much they raised.”
And their hard work didn’t stop there. Katelyn was straight onto her next challenge, deciding to grow her hair for the Little Princess Trust and cut it off to raise money for Macmillan.
Jemma continued: “Katelyn was adamant that no one was coming near her with scissors until it was long enough, and because of covid, there was no opportunity to get to the hairdresser so it was growing for two years. We made an appointment on my birthday this year and she donated 11 inches of hair. She had raised £395 at that stage, and her Granny was planning to donate another £5 to take her over the £400 mark.”
Not wanting to be outdone by her big sister, Chloe is now planning her next fundraising idea too.
Maria Small, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan in NI said: “Katelyn and Chloe are two incredible girls who have put so much thought, energy and time into their fundraising and have raised an astonishing amount of money to support our work. The funds they have raised so far could pay for seven Macmillan grants to help people in NI manage the extra costs that living with cancer can bring. I want to say a huge thank you to them, they are an inspiration!”
Jemma added: “Fundraising has been Katelyn and Chloe’s way of giving back. They ask me all the time what people need and how they can help.
“We’ve talked a lot about how covid has made it even more important to raise money for charities like Macmillan because people need even more help at the moment.
“They have been wearing their masks all day in school to make sure they’re limiting the risk of infection to me.
“They are so thoughtful and considerate and fill us with joy every single day.
“I know that their fundraising is going to continue for years to come.”
Macmillan provides emotional, practical and financial support to people in Northern Ireland. For support, information, or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am-8pm, or visit macmillan.org.uk