Leona to walk on fire to remember her fiancē Philip

A young woman whose fiancē died a year ago just weeks before they were due to be married in Derry’s St Eugene’s Cathedral is to walk over hot coals next weekend to raise funds for a charity she set up in his memory.

Solicitor Leona Rankin and her fiancē Philip Rankin had planned to get married in Derry last May, but just weeks before the wedding Philip died from sarcoma cancer. His month’s mind Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral with Derry soprano, Margaret Keys who was to have sung at their wedding , singing at the Mass.

To help her deal with her grief, Leona set up the Boom Foundation, a charity which raises funds to help other sarcoma sufferers and increases awareness of this particular cancer. Sarcoma is a bone and soft tissue cancer and is one of the few cancers which can often lead to amputation. Each year in Northern Ireland 100 people are diagnosed with sarcoma.

Over the last year Boom has raised over £70,000, half of which has gone to Sarcoma UK for research into the disease whilst the remaining funds are being used to support patients currently dealing with the trauma and treatment of the illness.

“Until The Boom Foundation there was very little support for sarcoma patients and their families. Many patients are really young people and feel they have no support outside the medical team”, Leona commented.

We have now set up a support network and self-help group and are having our first ever information day, “Living well with and Beyond Sarcoma” next Friday, 4th April 2014 at the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim. The following day Leona is to undertake her hot coal walking challenge at Coleraine Rugby Club and she has issued an invite for ‘Journal’ reders to get involved.

“I wanted to do something which was challenging, empowering and fun to mark the first year of The Boom Foundation. The event is open to the public and I would encourage people to sign up through our facebook page (www.facebook.com/theboomfoundation) and join in the fun. The event starts with a motivational session before participants get the chance to walk on fire. What’s a bit of fear and toasted feet for something as important as helping people with sarcoma throughout Northern Ireland!” she added.

So if you want a challenging way to face your fears, go online at www.facebook.com/theboomfoundation and sign up to get involved.