At only five years old Denise McCabe was diagnosed with eye cancer, and now that she is a mum to two boys she fully appreciates the stress and impact this news would have had on her parents. With long periods spent in hospital, undergoing surgery, receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Denise knows first hand how difficult it was for her parents to try and maintain a normal family home life for her and sister, Donata.
Denise has been an incredible CLIC Sargent supporter, organising numerous events to raise funds and awareness. Most recently Denise was joined by her husband Stephen and took part in the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon.
Denise says, "I was very lucky to have beaten cancer but little did I know that was just the beginning. The difficulties my parents faced was not only having to deal with a sick child but to also try and maintain a normal family atmosphere at home. It is only now having two sons of my own that I can fully appreciate the sacrifices my family made for me.
"Tasks which were part of everyday life before hand were now a challenge. My father had to continue working to provide for us, whilst my mother had to juggle my constant travelling up and down to Belfast. At weekends my mother would swap with my father and she would get to spend time with Donata whilst dad stayed with me.
"This is why I’ve devoted so much time and energy to such a worthy charity. I know how valuable CLIC Sargent’s Home from Home would have been to my family and I’m keen to do what I can to make sure they are available to other families.”
CLIC Sargent’s ‘Homes from Home’ Appeal aims to help families by building a second specialist home for teenagers and young people in close proximity to Belfast’s principal treatment centre and need your help to raise £1 million to achieve this vision. The Home from Home will be designed with the families and their circumstances in mind. It will comprise of large en suite family bedrooms, communal living and kitchen spaces, a quiet room and age appropriate play space.
After the race Denise said: “I’m thrilled to have completed my first half marathon, it felt great to cross the finish line and receive my medal. It makes it particularly worthwhile to know Stephen and I have raised money for such a fantastic cause.”
Go gold this September
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the UK and in many other countries around the world.
CLIC Sargent is using this month to raise awareness of the impact of childhood cancer and of our work supporting young cancer patients and their families.
Find out more
If you are interested in being part of our team in next year's Belfast Half Marathon or to find out more about how you can help support CLIC Sargent's Northern Ireland Appeal, please contact the team on 02890 725 780.