A Year of ‘Yes’ sees Local Woman Take on the Highest Peaks of the Mournes for Local Cancer charity to mark 2 years since Cancer Diagnosis

It is a year full of personal challenges and major milestones for Gemma Tracey, with plans for some unforgettable events, to mark an important anniversary, which includes raising vital funds for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, an organisation that hits very close to home.

In April 2022 at just 30 years-old, Gemma was diagnosed with adrenal cancer, a rare form of cancer that turned her world upside down. Speaking about her diagnosis, Gemma reflects: “I went to A&E in agony caused by trapped kidney stones, only to have a scan show a large mass above my kidney. I was in and out of hospital for months before I was diagnosed with adrenal cancer, and as my daughter was turning 1 years old, I was starting chemotherapy.”

Gemma continued: “I am so grateful to still be here, as two years is the most high-risk period of reoccurrence for adrenal cancer, which led to me being a long-term cancer patient, reliant on steroids and my mental health was badly affected. Getting outside and feeling like the old me again has really helped in my recovery.”

The founder of Belfast based Hiker Hounds, Gemma is a lover of all thing’s nature and outdoors. Having just celebrated her ‘cancer-versary’ sea dip with close friends and family in April 2024, her sights are now set over 700 metres high with a goal of reaching the summits of the highest peaks of the Mourne Mountains all while raising vital funds for Cancer Focus NI’s support services, which includes Family Support, Counselling, Bra Fitting, and Support Groups. Around 536 women are diagnosed with cancer every month in Northern Ireland, and Cancer Focus NI rely on the fundraising efforts of local people to continue to fund these essential services for local women.


Having taken part in Cancer Focus NI’s Mourne Seven Summits challenge in 2019, Gemma is once again returning to her ‘happy place’ on Saturday 15th June to take part in the Twin Peaks challenge, a sister event of the Mourne Seven Summits challenge. To help make the event special, Gemma is urging anyone thinking about signing up to give one of the challenges a go, whether with a group of friends, or even alone, she said: “The best thing about taking part in a challenge with Cancer Focus NI is that it is such a lovely community of people who are all there with the same important goal. There will be plenty of chats, laughs and encouragement from others to help you reach the summit, and there is nothing quite like the breath-taking views from the top of the Mournes as you celebrate together.”

Gemma notes the importance of being outdoors during her treatment and cancer journey: “I definitely struggled with the changes to my everyday life, but getting outdoors and feeling like my old self has helped me through all the ups and downs. A few months ago, I would have said no to this challenge, but having a goal and fundraising for an incredible charity like Cancer Focus NI has kept me going, and now I can’t wait for the big day.”


Gemma’s JustGiving page has already reached over the £1000 mark, which will go a long way in providing crucial support services for the 1 in 2 people who will receive a cancer diagnosis in Northern Ireland, in their lifetime. This amazing total will pay for 20 hours of Cancer Focus NI’s Nurseline service, offering information and cancer support for patients, their families and the general public. Fundraising support is vital to help the charity continue to support the 3,500 local people and their families every year who avail of their specialist cancer support services.

To find out more information about the Mourne Seven Summits or Twin Peaks Challenge or to register, click here or call our events team on 028 9066 3281