‘You just can’t prepare for it’ - grieving mother

Sharon Breslin. (2505PG60)
Sharon Breslin. (2505PG60)

Friends and family of the late Gary Breslin will mark what would have been his seventeenth birthday next month with a fundraiser in aid of Clic Sargent’s, ‘Home From Home’ campaign.

Sixteen year-old Gary from Amelia Court in the city, passed away in January having been diagnosed with a brain tumour a couple of years earlier.

The fundraiser will see 40 of Gary’s closest family and friends undertake a charity row on the River Foyle on Saturday June 16. The row will be followed by a night in Pitcher’s Restaurant. The commemorative events will be held just four days prior to Gary’s birthday on June 20.

Gary Breslin’s mother Sharon explains: “Clic Sargent were just so good to our family during my son’s illness. We, as a family, really want to thank them and at the same time raise money for other families experiencing the same ordeal we did. All the money raised will go towards helping families who have a child or young person suffering from cancer.”

Every week two children in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with cancer. Clic offer those families clinical, practical, emotional and financial support. The charity are currently raising money for their ‘Home From Home’ appeal. This project will see two houses in Belfast made available to families so that they don’t have to travel for treatment.

“They were so good to Gary and us. As were the palliative nurses from MacMillan Cancer care and all the medical teams who helped him. I’m not sure we can be grateful enough.”

Mrs. Breslin remembers every date of Gary’s treatment: “The cancer centre were just so good to Gary, he passed away in comfort and at ease in the end. It is just something that you never expect. I can’t even say how I reacted when it happened. Even though they told us there was nothing they could do for him and stopped his chemotherapy treatment, you just can’t prepare yourself.”

The former Carnhill High School pupil had initially sought treatment for a sore finger on his left hand. “That was in 2010,” explained his mother. “He ended up going to The Royal via Altnagelvin for scan after scan. I remember when they saw there was something on his brain he went for a biopsy. That procedure took ten hours, I am unable to put the feelings I had during those ten hours in words. Gary was then dignosed with a grade three tumour. I just can’t believe that something like this would come from a sore finger.”

Gary is survived by his twin brother Gavin, sister Gemma and father Marty. “They are dealing with it in their own ways but everyone has rallied round to help this fundraiser,” said their mother.

To that end Gary’s friends secured a signed Manchester United shirt to be raffled off in honour of the Red Devils supporter.

“We have all sorts of prizes from bunches of flowers to cup cakes, dinner vouchers and gift boxes. I really want to raise money for Clic and their profile. I want people to know who they are and what they did. They were great to our family.”

The charity row on the River Foyle and the fundraising night at Pitcher’s Restaurant will be held on Saturday June 16.