The Brown family Wish Upon a Star this Christmas

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Brown family from Ballykelly are making a very special wish this Christmas for Friends of the Cancer Centre.


The family have launched the charity’s Wish Upon a Star appeal, which will see the Christmas tree in the Cancer Centre in Belfast adorned with hundreds of silver and gold stars, each carrying the personal wish, message or name of a loved one affected by cancer. People can dedicate a star for a donation of £5 and all those who make a wish will also be given their very own star to hang on their tree at home.  For those who can’t make it to the Cancer Centre you can also Wish Upon a Star on Friends of the Cancer Centre’s beautiful virtual Christmas tree here: Wish Upon a Star


John Brown (27 years old), along with partner Mary McAteer and children Cody, Millie and Lucia were one of the first to Wish Upon a Star and they have lovingly dedicated theirs to the staff at the Cancer Centre to say thank you for the care and support they received whilst John was undergoing treatment earlier this year.  This Christmas will be extra special for the family as John received the all clear from the hospital in October. 


Commenting on what motived them to support the charity, John’s partner, Mary said:


“When John was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year it came as such a shock to him and our family, but with the tremendous care and support he received from everyone at the Cancer Centre it has made this journey so much easier.


“Friends of the Cancer Centre is an incredible charity that makes a real difference to someone affected by cancer.  John has received great care, with special thanks to Melanie McNally, Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Clinical Nurse Specialist for Teratoma and Renal Cancer, who was with us throughout John’s time in hospital. Melanie is funded by the charity and I know that we would have been lost without her.  I know that by continuing to support Friends of the Cancer Centre we are giving something back and helping other families affected by cancer.”


Friends of the Cancer Centre, based at the heart of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, is one of the leading cancer charities in Northern Ireland working to support cancer patients and their families through key projects in the areas of patient care, patient comforts and research.  Friends of the Cancer Centre is currently funding 31 additional staff in the Cancer Centre, including doctors, nurses and researchers and the charity is committed to raising at least £5 million over the next three years to fund on-going and new projects which will continue to support local cancer patients. 

Claire Hogarth, fundraising manager at Friends of the Cancer Centre, said:


“Our Wish Upon a Star appeal is our way of bringing Christmas right into the heart of the Cancer Centre, giving people the opportunity to mark this time of year in a unique and special way. 


“Among the sad and difficult stories we encounter through Wish Upon a Star, we also get to meet people like the Brown family who have positive stories to share and who can use the tree to say thank you to the amazing staff we have at the Cancer Centre for the great care and treatment they have received.  I’d like to invite everyone to help us make the Cancer Centre’s tree shine bright with stars this Christmas.  All money raised will be used to support the life-saving and life-changing work that Friends of the Cancer does to support local patients and their families and each star will be cherished as it will represent something, or someone, very special.”


Stars are available for a donation of £5 and can be purchased directly from the Friends of the Cancer Centre office at the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital, or you can also make a wish on Friends of the Cancer Centre’s virtual tree online at


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