Donna’s Teal Takeover
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Donna’s Teal Takeover

When her dad Matthew got cancer, Donna Shortt, decided to turn her home town Crumlin teal (Cancer Focus NI’s colour) for a week and hold a host of fundraising events from a car wash and zumbathon to a family fun day and a tug of war.

When found out that my father had cancer I felt completely powerless. I needed something to focus on to distract me from the pain and hurt and the ‘what ifs’. It was horrible stepping into the unknown of a disease that has taken the lives of so many and destroyed so many families.

I decided that fundraising would be a good way to face cancer head on, to relieve some of the hurt and worry by actively standing up to it. I wanted to take the negative and turn it into something positive.

Choosing Cancer Focus NI to fundraise for was an easy decision as I wanted the money I raised to specifically to go families in Northern Ireland.

When I first called Cancer Focus NI to speak about my idea, I couldn’t believe how accommodating and supportive the staff were. I knew I had made the right decision for myself and my fundraising journey straight away.

I met fundraiser Suzie Colledge and we immediately hit it off. She gave me the confidence to move forward by commending me and my ideas, and also she assured me that she and Cancer Focus NI would support me 100% through the process, which they did.

I also wanted to use fundraising as a way to bring the whole community of Crumlin together in the fight against cancer.

I was overwhelmed by the support local people gave to each of the community events we held during January 2016.

I initially set myself a personal target of £1,000, which just seemed to keep growing after each event. Even though I work full-time, with support from Suzie and Cancer Focus NI I was able to organise and successfully see through each of the events.

Local businesses also rallied around and held their own events. It is honestly the most fulfilling thing I have done to date. I was overwhelmed by the community and the support they showed.

In the end I raised close to £5,000. The money will go towards Cancer Focus NI’s Family Support Service. I believe that when a family member becomes ill or is diagnosed it becomes the whole family’s battle. I myself really struggled with how powerless I felt when I heard about my father’s diagnosis, and I know how scared and ignorant I felt about the disease and what was going to happen.

Our donation will enable the charity to support five local families for a year, helping to make a difficult time a little easier for them.

Cancer Focus NI is an amazing charity run by wonderful, down-to-earth people. I’d definitely tell anyone affected by cancer, or anyone who wants to fundraise to fight against cancer, to contact them.