The Eilish Degnan Cancer Foundation was set up by Gerald Degnan in memory of his mother a cancer victim. Gerald was the only child of Eilish and John Degnan and wanted to do something that would be a lasting memory to them.
His mother was first diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1993. At the time the prognosis was grim with just days to live. But thanks to her spirited fight and excellent care from local hospitals she survived until 2008. Unfortunately in that year the cancer returned and eventually led to her death in June of that year.
To compound all this, Gerald's father - John was also diagnosed with lung cancer which resulted in surgery to remove one lung. Further surgery was to follow as the cancer spread throughout his body. Heart surgery was also required following two heart attacks and unfortunately John passed away in March 2014.
Gerald supported his parents daily, which involved many visits to a number of different hospitals in Belfast and Dublin. Before his passing Gerald helped his father setup the charity.
The aim was and still is, to send children with cancer and other life limiting illnesses and their families to special shows, concerts and nights out. We have even managed trips to Disneyland to create special memories for ill children and their families.
The charity has donated thousands of Christmas Selection boxes, Easter Eggs, Colouring Books and portable DVD players to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children. Gerald has established a close relationship with staff in the hospital and continues to give all of his time to the charity without personal gain ...his reward is seeing the joy that the work of the charity brings to children and the staff at the RVH.