Charlie Brings the bingo fun for young people affected by cancer

Teenagers and young adults affected by cancer from across Northern Ireland were recently treated to a night of bingo fun by Charlie Hides of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

Charlie’s virtual ‘Drag Queen Bingo’ has been enjoyed by thousands of people from all over the world, including a host of celebrities and large multi-national companies. Charlie brought a huge amount of fun, music, and of course, bingo, to create a great evening’s entertainment.

Organised by Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Social Worker for Teenagers & Young Adults, Laurena Kane, the special evening of entertainment was designed specifically for young patients and their families, many of who have been unable to socialise as normal with friends during the last year.

Every year in Northern Ireland there are over 70 teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer, with many attending the Cancer Centre in Belfast for treatment. To support these young people and their wider family circle, Friends of the Cancer Centre proudly funds vital staff dedicated to caring for young people aged 16-24 years old. In addition to funding two specialist nurses, the charity also supports Laurena’s vital work which ensures that young patients have access to specialised care and emotional support throughout their diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.

The evening could not have gone ahead without the support of the sponsors who provided prizes for the evening. The generous donations from Murdock Builders Merchants, Dunnes Stores, HD Finch, Nugelato Ice Cream Newcastle, Tesco Newcastle, Tara’s Hill Cottage Bryansford, and Hales Fruit Sales Newcastle, meant that all the young people went away from the event with a prize.

Alysia was one of the young people who took part in the event, she said:

“The Bingo Night was amazing! It was so nice to spend time together with my family and we all had so much fun. Charlie Hides was such an amazing host and made sure that everyone joined in and had a laugh. My family can’t stop talking about what a great night it was. Thank you so much!”

Speaking about her role, and the Drag Bingo event, Laurena said:

“It is a real privilege to get to work alongside these young people each day, and see how, with our support, they can deal with the many side effects treatment can bring. Providing care beyond a young person’s physical diagnosis is a huge part of my role, and we’re always thinking of new ways to support them and their families.

 “The past year, in particular, has been a real challenge, and we’ve seen how providing the opportunity for our young people to come together, albeit virtually, can really help with their mental health. I would like to thank Friends of the Cancer Centre for funding this event, Charlie for providing such an engaging and enjoyable evening, and our sponsors for their generosity in providing our prizes.” 

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