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Events

Jude’s Tomcat Makes Pedalling Fun

Jude’s Tomcat Makes Pedalling Fun

The charity recently purchased a customised Tomcat Trike for Jude McDonagh. Jude is aged two and a half, lives in Ahoghill, Ballymena, Northern Ireland and has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy which affects his lower limbs and he does not have full control of his leg muscles. Jude is unable to stand without support and requires the assistance of a walking aid to walk. His mum Melissa contacted the charity as she felt a special trike would be of great benefit to him as he finds sitting in his buggy frustrating. We then received a letter of recommendation from Jude’s physio who advised that as well as not having full control of the muscles of his legs there is potential for the muscles to tighten up. She felt a trike would be a good form of exercise in that it would encourage strengthening of the leg muscles potentially improving his cardio-vascular fitness. In addition it would also assist the development of his balance whilst pedalling. Both Melissa and the physio felt the trike was an alternative way for Jude to explore his world and interact with his peers. We agreed to purchase the trike for Jude as we felt it would improve his quality of life in different ways both socially with other children and therapeutically. The NHS will not provide this piece of equipment. Melissa emailed to say “he was so excited about it coming today and just loved it when he got onto it. He is able to pedal himself so it is great for him. Thanks again for funding it for us it’s greatly appreciated”.

We send our best wishes to Jude and hope he enjoys his new Tomcat trike. Once again we thank everyone who has supported the charity to enable us to support young people like Jude.




Bangor Public Continues To Support "Chris"

Bangor Public Continues To Support Chris

We held our 7th annual Street Collection in Bangor on Saturday, 29th July. The sun shone and also shone on our collection boxes as a tremendous £419.19 was donated on the day. We thank everyone who made a donation as well as the interest they showed in the work of the charity. In the seven years we have been doing street collections the Bangor public have donated a total of £3,048 to The Christopher McCollum Fund to help both fund equipment for young disabled people and at times research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Our thanks also go to our volunteers Jenny McQuitty, Jill Hardy, Willie & Maureen Kenny and Brian Cassidy for giving up their time. The photo of Brian was taken at the back entrance of Asda and our thanks again to Victoria Gregg, their Community Life Champion, who, as there was no in-store collection on the day, allowed us to collect at the rear of the store. This raised over £100 and shows again how generous the customers of Asda are. Thanks again everyone for your support.




Ethan’s New Trike Hits The Road

Ethan’s New Trike Hits The Road

We were pleased to recently help purchase a Tomcat Custom Trike for Ethan Parks. Ethan is aged two and a half, lives in Gilford, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland and has Cerebral Palsy affecting all four limbs. Ethan’s mum Zoe emailed our charity to say how she felt a trike would be of help to him. We then received a letter of recommendation from Ethan’s physiotherapist who advised he had severe problems with co-ordination, postural control and muscle tone all of which affected his quality of life. She advised that regular use of a therapy trike would promote correct alignment in Ethan’s hips along with increased muscle strength. It would also aid social inclusion with both peers and family promoting better self-esteem.

We felt a trike will improve Ethan’s quality of life both as muscle therapy and with his social development. Ethan’s mum Zoe emailed to say “I am extremely grateful to the charity for funding this. It is already making a huge difference to his life. He cried when I took him off it!”

The NHS do not provide these very special customised trikes. We send our best wishes to Ethan and hope he enjoys his new trike.




Two Special 15th Anniversaries Remembered

Two Special 15th Anniversaries Remembered Two Special 15th Anniversaries Remembered

Gerry, Tracey Bell, Aine Gallagher, Maisie, Geraldine, Grace Stewart

Under our charity’s Aims we can support another charity who support young disabled people in Northern Ireland. We were pleased to recently visit the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice as we have purchased several items of equipment which they urgently needed for their family rooms. As Christopher’s 15th anniversary in September 2016 also coincided with that of Horizon House which opened in October 2001 we wanted to mark both anniversaries in a special way. Christopher had also been invited to the opening but sadly passed away before then. We discussed this with Aine Gallagher, Company Secretary, and suggested donating £1,500 for each anniversary totalling £3,000. Gerry then discussed with Grace Stewart, Care Services Manager, who advised they would benefit from having special Stargazer chairs for their family rooms. We increased our amount to £5,000 to purchase 3 Stargazers with the balance to purchase some new mattresses which were also needed. The Stargazer chairs can be used by the family and also young people staying at the Hospice as they can be converted into beds.

It is very special for us to see The Christopher McCollum Fund support the Children’s Hospice as it is one of the most special places in Northern Ireland which has the highest percentage of life limited children in the UK. Several of the young people we have bought equipment for have attended the Children’s Hospice. Many people feel that a family may only go to the Hospice for end of life care but in fact it is much more than that. As well as providing respite for families it also offers opportunities for building friendships and creating lasting memories. During our visit we were pleased to meet the latest recruit to the Children’s Hospice Team, Maisie the dog who appears in the above photo.

It cost between £3 - £4 million each year to run the Children’s Hospice who only receive approximately 30% government funding. Please consider giving your support to this very special place.

Please view this video to learn more about the work that they do:

Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice Overview




Tomcat Fizz Trike Helps Adam Get Stronger

Tomcat Fizz Trike Helps Adam Get Stronger

We were really pleased to recently help purchase a Tomcat Fizz trike for Adam Millar. Adam is aged 3, lives in Dundonald, Belfast and has Cerebellar Hypoplasia which includes floppy muscle tone. Adam’s mum Janette sent a letter to say how the trike would help strengthen his legs and his hands by holding onto the handle bars as well as enable him to sit well in an upright position. Adam also will be able to mix with other children in his street. We received a letter of recommendation from his school physiotherapist who confirmed that Adam had been assessed for a trike in the school. During this he made attempts to propel the trike and she feels this will increase his lower limb tone as well as build his muscle power. She also advised the NHS do not provide trikes.

We felt the trike will benefit Adam in different ways as well as improve his quality of life.

We send our best wishes to Adam and hope he enjoys his new trike.




Our PPod Makes Life Comfortable For Katie

Our PPod Makes Life Comfortable For Katie

We were very pleased to recently purchase a special PPod chair for Katie O’Neill. Katie is aged 16 months, lives in Magherafelt and has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1. Katie’s mum Roisin emailed to say Katie is extremely weak, has no muscle tone and requires Bipap for breathing at different times throughout the day and night. We received letters of recommendation from Katie’s occupational therapist and paediatric consultant on why they felt a PPod chair would be of benefit to Katie. Her OT said Katie has a Triton 0 high-low chair provided by the NHS but it is a rigid system and Katie cannot tolerate sitting for more than 45 minutes. She felt a PPod would enable Katie to be in a more comfortable position. Her consultant said that due to Katie’s weakness she mainly lies flat and felt that the PPod would hold Katie in a good position. It also will elevate her head and shoulders offering full support and comfort thus allowing her to achieve better lung function. Her mum Roisin also said the PPod will allow Katie to interact more with her family. We felt the PPod will in different ways improve Katie’s quality of life.

Katie is one of several young children in Northern Ireland who are receiving the drug Spinraza on trial. This is the first drug in the world to treat SMA and has been approved in America as well as recently by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). It is hoped in the coming months that NICE will approve this in the UK and that NHS England will then make this available. If that happens it is hoped the drug will become available in Northern Ireland similar to the drug Translarna for Duchenne MD.

We send our best wishes to Katie and hope she enjoys her PPod.




Team Emerald – What a Difference You Made

Team Emerald – What a Difference You Made Team Emerald – What a Difference You Made

We have recently received the final monies from Halifax Mortgage Sales/Lloyds Telephone Banking for Team Emerald and we are pleased to say they raised a fantastic £12,123.99 during 2016 for The Christopher McCollum Fund as their Charity of the Year. It meant so much to us to be selected as their charity and once again our thanks to Damian McCluskey, Senior Team Manager Mortgages for nominating us in January 2016. From our first visit the enthusiasm of the Team in wanting to support us was clear to see. They were very interested to hear about Christopher, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and why we try to support young disabled people in getting the equipment they need as soon as possible to help improve their quality of life. When we attended a number of their events it was wonderful to hear to hear how each member told the public about Christopher, Duchenne and the work of the charity. We then donated £3,000 to the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund with the balance going towards equipment. As well as thanking every member of Team Emerald for volunteering their time a special thanks must go to Paula McAleese for organising the many events. Thanks again everyone and every success in supporting other charities in the years ahead.




A New Tomcat Keeps Lilia Pedalling

A New Tomcat Keeps Lilia Pedalling A New Tomcat Keeps Lilia Pedalling

Lilia and her sisters Grace and Cassie

The charity has recently helped purchase a custom Tomcat Fizz trike for Lilia McClements, aged 9 who lives in Coleraine. Lilia was born with a rare genetic mutation STXPB1, and other conditions including severe development delay. Lilia has been using a trike since age 3 but has now outgrown this. Her parents felt it was important to continue to have the use of a trike which helps her muscle tone and lower limb strength. We were pleased to help support the family who also made a contribution towards the total cost to get this new trike for Lilia as quickly as possible. As Lilia is unable to walk or stand without full support her Occupational Therapist feels it is important for Lilia to continue to have the use of a trike as it allows her to have the benefit of gross motor activity. She also advised that the NHS do not fund trikes for children. The trike also allows Lilia to have the opportunity to experience more social inclusion with her sisters aged 4 and 12 by using the trike rather than sitting her wheelchair/buggy. Her mum Christine emailed to say: “It's absolutely fabulous. Lilia loves the wind in her face as she rides her trike, and when she is excited waving her arms all the lorry drivers going past wave back to her. We are so grateful to you all at the Christopher McCollum Fund. We know that Lilia will get many years of enjoyment from the trike as well as much needed physical therapy and our other two children will have the experience of having Lilia alongside them as they ride their bikes together”.

The Christopher McCollum Fund recognises the need for all children to be able to play together and thanks to the lobbying of Christine and her husband Gregg a one-of -its kind Diversity Park was officially opened in September 2016 in Portstewart. This new play park is designed for children of all abilities and includes play equipment for users with disabilities and sensory needs. This inclusive park will allow Lilia to play alongside her sisters and Christine said “the play park recognises that there are children with learning and physical disabilities within our community, and their ability to play and live full lives is important too”.

We all wish Lilia many happy hours of cycling on her Tomcat Fizz with her sisters Grace and Cassie.




Thumbs Up For Brave Nessa’s Tomcat Fizz

Thumbs Up For Brave Nessa’s Tomcat Fizz Thumbs Up For Brave Nessa’s Tomcat Fizz

Nessa with her sisters

The charity has recently purchased a Custom Tomcat Fizz trike for Nessa Girvan, aged 4 who lives in Lurgan. Nessa was born with Hydrocephalus and underwent major brain surgery in Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool in December 2014. She also has several other complex conditions. Presently Nessa is able to walk by holding onto parallel bars or with adult support. Her physiotherapist feels that she has the potential to walk and that pathways to her brain just need to be laid and consolidated. It is hoped that the pedalling action on the Tomcat may help with this consolidation as well as assisting Nessa in developing her motor skills and muscle strength. The Tomcat trike will also improve Nessa’s quality of life as it will give her more freedom outside of her wheelchair buggy with the opportunity to participate in family days out with her older sisters and to socialise with other children her own age. The trike comes with a parent/carer handle at the rear if assistance is needed. Her proud mum Eleanor emailed with photos to say: “Just 24hours with her new trike. Look at the joy ... She has taken to it like a duck to water. We are completely delighted with it and cant thank you enough. This evening when I got home from work we ALL went outside for ages. Nessa thoroughly enjoyed her time on the trike. What a difference it's going to make to Nessa”.

Once again many thanks to all our supporters without whom this would not have been possible and we all wish Nessa many happy hours of cycling on her Tomcat Fizz with her family.




'Spirit of Chris’ Continues To Support Vital Research

Spirit of Chris Continues To Support Vital Research

We are pleased to have donated a further £3,000 to the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. This has been possible thanks to the great support we received last year from Team Emerald of the Halifax Mortgage Sales, Lloyds Telephone Banking at The Gasworks, Belfast. It means so much to us to donate funds at a time when research is progressing so well into finding a treatment(s) for Duchenne MD. We sincerely hope that lobbying the European Medicines Agency will be successful in obtaining approval for the drug Exondys 51 and then the subsequent approval by NICE in the UK. Since the DRB Fund was launched in October 2012 The Christopher McCollum Fund has, with this further amount, now donated £20,658.55 which has purchased almost 585 hours of vital research.




Cara Puts Her Tomcat Tiger To The Test

Cara Puts Her Tomcat Tiger To The Test Cara Puts Her Tomcat Tiger To The Test

We were delighted to hear that Cara Weatherall recently received her Tomcat Tiger trike which the charity has purchased. Cara is aged 4, lives in Belfast and has Dystonic Cerebral Palsy which affects all four limbs and trunk. When Cara was assessed for the trike she pedalled it very well and, following this, we received a letter of recommendation on the benefits of the trike from Cara’s physio. The Tomcat Tiger trike will allow Cara to socialise with other children her age and also experience the freedom of being able to use a trike rather than be in her wheelchair buggy. In addition it will also provide good trunk and pelvic support as well as improve her quality of life. If assistance is needed there is a parent/carer handle at the rear of the trike. Cara’s mum Sharon said: “Despite having a cold Cara couldn’t wait to get out on it, and spent an hour and a half today riding it. She loved it so much I couldn’t get her off it! Thank you so much again for making this possible. We can’t thank you enough.”

We wish Cara many happy hours of cycling on her Tomcat Tiger.




Brady Chambers Is On Fire

Brady Chambers Is On Fire

Brady with his dad David

Brady Chambers Is On Fire

It was great news to hear that Brady Chambers recently received his new RGK Tiga Jnr wheelchair and Frontwheel accessory which the charity purchased. Brady is aged 10, lives in Moira, Northern Ireland and has a rare spinal condition. As part of this package, the charity, along with Brady’s parents, also part funded a SmartDrive MX2. The SmartDrive MX2 and Frontwheel are add-on accessories which will enable Brady to travel with ease over any terrain. This will power his chair for up to 12 miles and will give him the freedom to be able to go for walks with his family and not have to worry about long journeys tiring him out. He wants to be able to keep up with his younger brother on his bike and not have to ask people to push him. This lightweight wheelchair will also allow Brady to move around more freely and greatly improve his quality of life. Brady plays for the Junior Barbarians Wheelchair Rugby club and got his RGK Tiga Jnr backrest customised with his name and their logo. Brady’s mum Louise emailed to say “The wheelchair is absolutely amazing and fits Brady perfectly. He is delighted with the chair and he said ‘makes him feel really good’ when he is in it”.

We send our best wishes to Brady and hope he enjoys more time with his family and playing rugby.




2016 – Thank You All For Your Support

2016 – Thank You All For Your Support

We would like to thank everyone who has supported The Christopher McCollum Fund in 2016 either with donations, fundraising, volunteering their time or supporting our events. Special thanks also to both the Bangor Civil Defence Services Club and the Emerald Team from the Halifax Mortgage Sales/Lloyds Telephone Banking for selecting us as their Charity of the Year. It was thanks to everyone’s support that during this year we were able to purchase 6 items of equipment for young disabled people, with 2 more in the pipeline for early 2017. Also we are pleased that we have now funded 500 hours of research into finding a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Our street collection in Bangor for the first time raised over £500 thanks to the generousity of the Bangor public. In addition it was very special, in what is Christopher’s 15th anniversary year, to have received the Humanitarian Civic Award from Ards & North Down Borough Council. We again thank everyone who came to The Black Box, Belfast event Songs for Chris returns, Music & Memories to mark his 15th anniversary and which was another great night of music.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy 2017.




Team Emerald – What A Festive Christmas Result

Zoe McLean & Geraldine & Gerry

Damian McCluskey, Gerry, Geraldine & Paula McAleese

Staff from Team Emerald of Halifax Mortgage Sales recently held a cake and bun sale, along with a raffle for a Christmas hamper put together by Geraldine. This raised a tremendous £323.25 which will again be matched by the Halifax Foundation. Our thanks to Paula McAleese for organising another successful event and all the members of Team Emerald for their support and donating all the delicious cakes and buns. Well done Zoe McLean on winning the hamper. Sadly for us this is the last of the many events they have held during 2016 supporting The Christopher McCollum Fund as their chosen Charity of the Year. It was great for us to join with them on the day and also have a photo taken with a presentation cheque for ........ £11,892! This is an approximate figure from all their support this year. What an absolutely fantastic amount which will be used towards equipment for young disabled people and also the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. We will confirm the exact figure in January but at this stage our sincere thanks to every member of the Emerald Team for again volunteering all their time and support.




‘Spirit of Chris’ Achieves 500 Hours of Vital Research

500 Hours of Vital Research

2016 has been a successful year in finding treatments for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The first ever drug Translarna, which benefits up to 13% of young people with Duchenne, is now available in Northern Ireland. A further drug Exondys 51 (previously known as Eteplirsen) has recently been approved in America. Lobbying has already taken place at Westminster attended by NI MPs along with a family to start the process to obtain approval in the UK.

We are pleased to have recently donated £1,500 to the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund which is thanks to funds raised by the Bangor Civil Defence Services Club and also from the ‘Songs for Chris returns’ night in The Black Box to mark Christopher’s 15th anniversary. Since the Breakthrough Fund was set up in October 2012 The Christopher McCollum Fund has donated £17,658.55 which has purchased almost 500 hours of vital research. We look forward to hearing about further emerging treatments in 2017.




Team Emerald in Asda Bangor – A Bumper Bag Pack

Team Emerald in Asda Bangor – A Bumper Bag Pack Team Emerald in Asda Bangor – A Bumper Bag Pack

Staff from the Emerald Team of Halifax Mortgage Sales/Lloyds Telephone Banking recently held a Bag Pack in our local Asda Bangor store. Having supported our charity all year this was their last outside event and what a successful way to finish it was. They raised a quite fantastic £725.18 which again will be matched by the Halifax Foundation making a grand total of £1,450.36! This will go towards equipment for young disabled people and the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. Our thanks to Aaron, Emma and all the volunteers who gave up their time to man the tills, or collected at the entrances, as well as supporting Geraldine at our usual in-store information table at the rear entrance. It was great to see their enthusiasm and promotion of the charity on the day.

Our sincere thanks to all the Asda customers for their support and generousity as well as the interest they showed in the charity at our information table. Our thanks also to Victoria Gregg, Asda’s Community Life Champion for all her support. We look forward to Team Emerald’s last event of the year in their Gasworks premises which will include a Christmas hamper raffle.




Bangor CD Club’s Great Year Supporting “Chris” Ends

Bangor CD Club’s Great Year Bangor CD Club’s Great Year

Bangor Civil Defence Services Club, with the support of G&H Film & TV Services, have raised a fantastic £3,000 for The Christopher McCollum Fund as their Charity of the Year. It meant so much to us to be chosen as, being a Bangor charity, it is special to receive this local support. We had a really enjoyable year meeting the members and attending some of the various fundraising events they held. It also gave us the opportunity to raise awareness on disability, Duchenne MD and speak about Christopher. Our sincere thanks to Brian Watson, the Committee and Members for raising such a magnificent amount, which included a very generous donation from G&H Film & TV Services. A special thank you again to Brian Cassidy for nominating us as well as organising the various artists who gave their support to the events. The funds raised will go towards equipment for young disabled people and also the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund.




Songs for Chris returns – Music and Memories

Music and Memories Music and Memories

Once again thank you Anthony Toner, Brendan Murphy, Matt McGinn, Stevie Scullion (Malojian) and John McCullough for giving everyone another magical night of great music in The Black Box on the 12th October. Following our 30 Songs for Chris event last year Songs for Chris returns was a special way to mark Christopher’s 15th anniversary. It meant so much for us to see four of Northern Ireland’s most talented singer/songwriters and piano player get together to put on a performance everyone will remember for a very long time. We are pleased to say that £1,256 was raised on the night which will go towards equipment for young disabled people and MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. Our thanks again to Rachael and the staff of The Black Box which is a great venue, also John McGurk of the Sunday Life for promoting the event. A special moment on the night was when Anthony, about to sing his great song Sailortown, dedicated it to Bap Kennedy and how everyone was thinking of him at that time. Bap sadly passed away on 1st November. We were lucky to see Bap in concert and he will be sorely missed as he was another great singer/songwriter.




Ross Enters Dublin Marathon for “Chris”

Ross Enters Dublin Marathon for Chris

You may remember Ross Moneypenny ran the Belfast Marathon in 2014 for The Christopher McCollum Fund --- well Ross is now going to run the Dublin Marathon for the charity this weekend on 30th October. What another fantastic gesture by Ross, who is married to Nadine, one of Christopher’s cousins. He though never met Christopher so it is special again to see him want to support the charity with another “marathon” effort. Here is a link to Ross’s JustGiving page and we hope everyone will support him: Ross's JustGiving Page

Good luck Ross and enjoy the day.




Songs for Chris returns – Another Night To Remember

Another Night To Remember

Geraldine, Stevie, Brendan, Matt, Anthony, John, Gerry

Another Night To Remember

This is just an initial report on Songs for Chris returns at The Black Box last Wednesday night to mark Christopher’s 15th anniversary. A further report will follow once we know the amount raised etc. But ....... what another fantastic night it was! Thanks to everyone who came along. The Black Box is an excellent venue and the atmosphere was electric. Once again we were all privileged to witness a “world class” night of original songs, guitar playing, stories and banter from four of Northern Ireland’s best songwriters Anthony Toner, Brendan Murphy, Matt McGinn and Stevie Scullion (Malojian), accompanied by the dazzling skills of John McCullough on piano. They were all in great form. Our thanks to each of them for supporting us and giving everyone another night they will not forget. We think it is the first time all five have shared the stage together and we are so lucky in NI to have such talented artists and musicians. As a momento of the evening we gave everyone a copy of the event poster, designed by Anthony, along with a “15” poster as above, which includes some photos of Christopher but more so some of the young people the charity has supported. Thanks to Team Emerald from Halifax Mortgage Sales who sold the raffle tickets which meant that every £ raised will be matched by Halifax Foundation and to Dessie and Maureen Hill who manned the ticket desk as well as counting the raffle money. Gerry & Geraldine




'Songs for Chris returns' – one week to go!

Songs for Chris returns

Just one week to go until our event Songs for Chris returns is back in The Black Box. We are so pleased to have 4 of the best singer/songwriters in Northern Ireland, accompanied by the dazzling John McCullough on keyboard, to mark Christopher’s 15th anniversary. It will be another night of fantastic songs, music and fun between the musicians. Our thanks again to Anthony Toner for all his help, support and of course for designing the event poster. On the night there will be a special “15” poster on each table as a momento of the night. We will again be holding a raffle which includes a signed event poster/signed CDs donated by the artists, a Hotel Chocolat selection and a prize from The Black Box. All proceeds will go to equipment for young disabled people and MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. For further information and tickets please visit:

The Black Box Website


‘Songs for Chris’ returns

Songs for Chris returns

What a great night it was last year at The Black Box with ‘30 Songs for Chris’ which featured Anthony Toner, Ben Glover, Brendan Murphy, Matt McGinn and John McCullough. WELL --- on Wednesday, 12th October ‘Songs for Chris’ returns will revisit The Black Box with Anthony, Brendan, Matt and John with the addition of Malojian (Stevie Scullion). Christopher had two loves – Man Utd and music. 30 Songs for Chris helped mark his 30th year and this year we have ‘Songs for Chris’ returns to mark Christopher’s 15th anniversary. We are really delighted to have 4 of Northern Ireland’s most talented singer/ songwriters accompanied again by the sensational John McCullough on keyboards to remember this.

Once again our sincere thanks to Anthony for all his support, contacting the artists, The Black Box and again designing another wonderful event poster with a special feature being a photo of a young Christopher.

Proceeds from the event will go to Equipment for young disabled people and also MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund.

The Black Box can seat 170 at small tables with limited standing room. There is a multi storey car park 5 minutes walk away behind St Anne’s Cathedral which can be accessed via Edward Street.

This promises to be another fabulous night of music, songs, and stories with great craic from this fantastic line-up. Tickets which cost £12 can now be purchased online at: The Black Box Website




Team Emerald Return To Belfast For ‘Chris’

Making a difference Team Emerald Return To Belfast For Chris

The 8th September 2016 was Christopher’s 15th anniversary and it was great to then have a street collection in Belfast City Centre by the Emerald Team on Thursday, 15th September 2016. Looking back 15 years ago the 15th September was a difficult time and we could never imagine that 15 years later we would be collecting funds in Belfast in Christopher’s name. Our sincere thanks for organising this goes to Paula McAleese and the staff from the Emerald Team at Halifax Mortgage Sales who volunteered on the day. As well as being a special time for us we are pleased to say that £239.28 was raised, which again will be matched by the Halifax Foundation to make a total amount of £478.56. This will again go towards equipment for young disabled people and MDUK Duchenne Breakthrough Research Fund.




A Screaming Success for Team Emerald

Making a difference A Screaming Success for Team Emerald A Screaming Success for Team Emerald

We are pleased to say that the 17 members of Team Emerald from Halifax Mortgage Sales, The Gasworks, Belfast all survived the longest Zip Line in Ireland, as well as the 30/50 ft Drop Zones at Todd’s Leap, Ballygawley. We understand there were a few screams but it was all worth it in the end as at present they have currently raised a fantastic £1,198.25. This of course will be matched by The Halifax Foundation. Our sincere thanks to Paula McAleese for organising this and to everyone who gave up their Sunday to take part in another event to support us as their Charity of the Year. All funds raised will go towards equipment for young disabled people and MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund.




World Duchenne Awareness Day – 7 Sept

World Duchenne Awareness Day – 7 Sept

In 2014 the 7th September was declared World Duchenne Awareness Day (WDAD). The 7th day of the 9th month was chosen as there are 79 exons in the Dystrophin gene. For us the 7th September is a significant date as on the 7th September 2001 Christopher went into hospital and passed away on the 8th. So, as we approach Christopher’s 15th anniversary, to see a focus on WDAD each year at this date is special to us particularly as The Christopher McCollum Fund continues to raise funds to help find a treatment for Duchenne. Progress is being made and one drug Translarna, which can treat 15% of young people with Duchenne, has recently become available in Northern Ireland. All the funds we raise for research are donated to the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund and here is a link to see how they have used all the funds raised so far. MDUK will also announce on the 7th September new projects they will be funding. There is a long way to go but we look forward to the day when a treatment(s) may be found for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Muscular Dystrophy UK Article




Team Emerald Zip and Jump for ‘Chris’

Making a difference Team Emerald Zip and Jump for Chris

Here we go, here we go...

At least 17 members of Team Emerald of Halifax Mortgage Sales/Lloyds at The Gasworks Belfast, who are supporting us this year, have volunteered to challenge Ireland’s longest Zip Line at Todd’s Leap Ballygawley on Sunday, 11th September. The Zip Line is 500 metres long and at its peak 50 ft high. A well as the Zip Line they will also do a 30 ft jump from the Drop Zone. This again is fantastic support for the charity and we thank everyone for giving up their Sunday to do this and being so brave!!

It is also Christopher’s 15th anniversary weekend and to see this support on the 11th September makes the event even more special for us. If you would like to support them here is the JustGiving link and remember every £ donated is then matched by Halifax Foundation:

Lloyds Banking Group Emerald Crew JustGiving Page

All funds will go towards equipment for young disabled people and the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund.

Just to add Team Emerald will also be in Belfast City Centre on Thursday, 15th September to do a street collection so again if you see them please give them your support. As said with Christopher’s 15th anniversary approaching it is lovely to see these two events taking place.




Christopher Completed his 'Lap the Lough' for 'Chris'

Making a difference Christopher Completed his Lap the Lough for Chris Christopher Completed his Lap the Lough for Chris

We are really pleased to say that Christopher Muzenda successfully completed “Lap the Lough” for “Chris” on the 28th August. This was a 95 mile cycle around Lough Neagh and Christopher has so far raised £525 which, when matched by the Halifax Foundation, means £1,050 will have been raised. Once again a big thank you to Christopher for deciding to take on this challenge which has raised such a tremendous sum. This will be used towards equipment for young disabled people and also MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. Sincere thanks Christopher and hope you enjoyed the event.




Christopher Muzenda "Lap the Lough" for "Chris"

Christopher Muzenda Lap the Lough for Chris

Team Emerald of Halifax Mortgage Sales at The Gasworks are supporting our charity all through this year, organising lots of events. Every £ they raise is then matched by the Halifax Foundation which is tremendous. At the end of the year the funds raised will go towards Equipment and the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. One of the team Christopher Muzenda decided he would like to take on the challenge of “Lap the Lough”. This is a 95 mile cycle race around Lough Neagh and what a fantastic gesture this is by Christopher. As well as thanking him we have an opportunity to support him as he has set up a JustGiving page. If anyone would like to show their support remember your donation will be matched by the Halifax Foundation and here is the Just Giving link below:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ChrisMuzenda-LaptheLough2016

Best wishes Christopher and hope you enjoy the event. Sincere thanks for your support.




A Record Day In Bangor for “Chris”

A Record Day In Bangor for Chris

Once again we held our annual Street Collection in Bangor on Saturday, 30th July. We thought Bangor was a bit quieter this year and then for the first time on a collection day we had to contend with RAIN with umbrellas up and down from lunchtime onwards. BUT ..... what a successful day it turned out to be! We collected £547.35 which is a RECORD amount for us as well as the first time we exceeded £500. This proves again the overwhelming generousity of the BANGOR public and we thank everyone who supported us on the day as well as the interest they showed in the work of the charity. Thanks also to Victoria Gregg of ASDA who, as there was no in-store collection that day, allowed us to collect at the rear of their store. Again a big thank you to our volunteers Jenny McQuitty, Jill Hardy, Maureen Kenny, Willie Kenny, Brian Cassidy, Christopher Hardy and a special thanks to Megan Ali who joined us for the first time. It was another great day for us in Bangor.




Team Emerald at Tesco - What A Result

Making a difference Fantastic News for Duchenne

Staff from the Emerald Team of Halifax Mortgage Sales/Lloyds Telephone Banking at The Gasworks Belfast recently organised a Bag Pack for our charity in the Tesco Extra store in Newtownards. What a fantastic day it was raising a magnificent £939! Geraldine was also there as we set up our usual in-store information table in the foyer. As we are the Emerald Team Charity of the Year Halifax Foundation then match any amount raised which means the Bag Pack raised an unbelievable £1,878 in total.

We would like to sincerely thank all the Tesco customers for their wonderful generousity and also the interest they showed in the work of the charity. Our thanks also to Campbell Keatings, Charity Champion at Tesco Ards, for his support and help on the day.

Thanks again to everyone in the Emerald “Tesco” Team who volunteered their time and also to Paula McAleese for organising this. To see the Team in our “Chris” charity caps and sashes speaking so enthusiastically about Christopher and the charity was very special for us as we approach his 15th anniversary.




Fantastic News for Duchenne

Fantastic News for Duchenne

You may have seen in the media that Translarna, the first ever drug in the world, which can treat an underlying genetic cause of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (MD) has been granted funding in Northern Ireland. It is suitable for the 15% of children whose Duchenne has been caused by a nonsense mutation, are aged 5 and over and still walking. It is hoped that Translarna will keep them walking for some years and delay the need for a wheelchair. This can help between 7 – 10 young people in NI and is wonderful news. The effectiveness of this drug, which is manufactured in Northern Ireland, will be assessed over a 5 year period. Along with others we, through the MD All Party Group at Stormont, pressed both the Health Minister and Director of Commissioning to make this available here. We were always promised that if NICE approved this in England and NHS England agreed to fund it then Northern Ireland would follow suit. No one expected though it would happen within 24 hours of the NHS England announcement and thanks must go to the Health Minister Michelle O’Neill for granting this so quickly. As well as improving the quality of life of the young people who will benefit from this we also hope it will act as a stepping stone to when other treatments may be found for other mutations of Duchenne in the future.




SONGS FOR CHRIS – RETURN TO THE BLACK BOX

SONGS FOR CHRIS – RETURN TO THE BLACK BOX

Announcing the return of a special Songwriters in the Round event in aid of The Christopher McCollum Fund to mark Christopher’s 15th anniversary.

Featuring:

Anthony Toner, Brendan Murphy, Matt McGinn, Stevie Scullion (Malojian) and John McCullough (piano)

The Black Box, Belfast

Tickets £12

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm

Proceeds to Equipment for young disabled people and Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund

Event poster and further information on tickets will follow shortly.




Riley – Born To Try

We would like to share with everyone an amazing video which was taken by Riley’s dad Sean. The song accompanying the video is “Born To Try” by Delta Goodrem. As you may have seen in an earlier post, in partnership with Whizz-Kidz, we were delighted to fund a Skippi powered wheelchair which, as you will see, has given Riley the freedom and independence she dreamt of. Our thanks to Whizz-Kidz for giving us the opportunity to share in the purchase of this life changing piece of equipment and to all our friends and volunteers for their continued support, without which none of this would be possible.

Teresa, Riley’s mum said: “Riley's new Skippi power chair has arrived and she just loves it! A lot faster than her old one and even allows her to go up and down. Thanks to all involved in making this happen”.




Ben Gets Out And About In His Clik Wheelchair

Ben Gets Out And About In His Clik Wheelchair Ben Gets Out And About In His Clik Wheelchair

We were really pleased to part fund a Clik lightweight manual wheelchair package in partnership with Whizz-Kidz for Ben Johnston. Ben is aged 6 and lives in Waringstown, Craigavon, Co Armagh. He has a tracheostomy and has Pontine Hypoplasia. Ben’s parents applied to Whizz-Kidz for a lightweight manual wheelchair to replace his buggy which he had outgrown and which was no longer appropriate for him. He has a large Chunc manual wheelchair from the NHS but this requires a large vehicle in order for it to be transported by his father mainly to school. A new lightweight wheelchair will allow Ben to continue to travel in a care seat with his mum and brothers in the family car. The NHS will not provide a lightweight wheelchair to replace his buggy. Ben’s parents also wanted him to have the opportunity to develop some independence by learning how to self propel even for short distances. Ben was assessed by Amanda Hopkin, Senior Mobility Therapist, Whizz-Kidz. This identified seating issues required for maximum support to stabilise his pelvis and support his spine in order to gain arm function for self propelling.

Whizz-Kidz agreed to fund the Clik wheelchair. Ben’s mum Ciara contacted us as suggested by Whizz-Kidz to ask if our charity could fund the cost of the special postural seating. We received a letter of recommendation from Amanda Hopkin and were pleased to support this part of the wheelchair package as we felt this would benefit Ben both in terms of increased independence and social participation which improves his quality of life. Ben’s mum Ciara emailed to say “Ben is getting on really really well! He is self propelling consistently, and enjoying his independence! We cannot thank you enough. In the few short weeks we've had the chair, Ben has experienced so much! Tonight he was down with our goats with his brothers, which he hasn't been able to do before!”

Whizz-Kidz are a leading UK charity who work hard to transform the lives of disabled children, supporting them to become confident and independent young adults. They provide the vital equipment, support and life skills they need to reach their full potential. We are pleased that our charity is working in partnership with Whizz-Kidz to support Ben at this time and the aim of both charities is to help more children in Northern Ireland gain their independence and pursue active lives.

We send our best wishes to Ben.




Riley Gets Her Dream Wheels

Riley Gets Her Dream Wheels Riley Gets Her Dream Wheels

We were really delighted to part fund an Otto Bock Skippi powered wheelchair package in partnership with Whizz-Kidz for Riley Moss. Riley is aged 5 and lives on her parent’s farm in Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh. She has a number of complex health issues, including a recent genetic diagnosis of Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome, of which there are only 8 others in the world who have a mutation on this gene. Riley’s parents approached Whizz-Kidz for a powered wheelchair (pwc) as they felt this would give Riley more independence and increase her social development. They had approached the NHS but were declined. To help show Riley was capable of managing a pwc they bought a second hand chair themselves. This though was 7 years old and was not suitable for the postural support Riley now needs. Riley was assessed by Amanda Hopkin, Senior Mobility Therapist, Whizz-Kidz for a pwc that was suitable for indoor use and also for use outdoors in the family’s purpose built play area as well as for Riley to visit her grandmother on a nearby farm. Whizz-Kidz agreed to fund the Skippi which has a tilt and riser to allow Riley to be involved at home based activities with her 2 sisters.

As part of this package special postural seating is required to suit and stabilise Riley when using the Skippi. Riley’s mum Teresa contacted our charity at the suggestion of Whizz-Kidz to see if we could fund the special seating. Teresa also sent a video of Riley operating the second hand chair which clearly showed Riley was capable of managing this item of equipment. We also received a letter of recommendation from Amanda Hopkin and were very pleased to fund this to enable Riley to have this pwc which will improve her quality of life immensely. Teresa emailed us to say “Riley just loves it and is so proud to show it off to everyone who visits. I wish to thank you and Whizz-Kidz as you both understood from the start how important it was for Riley to have this independence, playing with other kids. We can never thank Whizz-Kidz and SpiritofChris enough for what you have given to Riley and to us. It is literally life changing”.

In the next few days we will share a wonderful video Teresa has sent of Riley in her new Skippi.

Whizz-Kidz are a leading UK charity who work hard to transform the lives of disabled children, supporting them to become confident and independent young adults. They provide the vital equipment, support and life skills they need to reach their full potential. We are pleased that our charity is working in partnership with Whizz-Kidz to support Riley at this time and the aim of both charities is to help more children in Northern Ireland gain their independence and pursue active lives.




Working Together As a Team for Nathan

Working Together As a Team for Nathan

Nathan with his new sports wheelchair

Working Together As a Team for Nathan

Nathan back row, end right

We were recently asked by Whizz-Kidz, a leading UK charity, if we could help with the final funding needed to purchase an Elite sports wheelchair package for Nathan McCabe. Nathan is 13, has Cerebral Palsy and lives in Castlewellan. We received a letter of recommendation from Amanda Hopkin, Senior Mobility Therapist, Whizz-Kidz as to why it was felt Nathan needed a more specialised wheelchair. Nathan plays for the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club and the Northern Ireland Under 15 Wheelchair Basketball Club who recently won the finals of the Lord’s Taverners Junior League in England (see link below). He now needs a high level performance wheelchair suitable for training and participating at a national level. The Elite sports wheelchair will enable Nathan to compete at a high level in his chosen sport thus increasing his independence, social participation and improving his quality of life. The NHS will not provide this piece of equipment.

Whizz-Kidz are a leading UK charity who work hard to transform the lives of disabled children, supporting them to become confident and independent young adults. They provide the vital equipment, support and life skills they need to reach their full potential. We are pleased that our charity is working in partnership with Whizz-Kidz to support Nathan at this time and the aim of both charities is to help more children in Northern Ireland gain their independence and pursue active lives.

Northern Ireland U15 Wheelchair Basketball Squad Strike Gold


Therapy is Fun with a Bronco Walker

Therapy is Fun with a Bronco Walker Therapy is Fun with a Bronco Walker

Kole and Lila with Angela Wilson using the Bronco Walker in The Mencap Childrens Nursery

We were recently asked by Angela Wilson, Senior Physiotherapist, if our charity could purchase a Bronco Walker Size 0 for use by the pupils of The Mencap Childrens Centre Nursery (formerly Segal House). The Bronco allows children to be mobile and enjoy the freedom of walking. It also helps the Physio Department in teaching and encouraging young children with physical and learning disabilities to walk. The design of the Bronco makes learning to walk fun for the child and can be easily adapted to fit many different children. As well as being used for therapy pupils can also enjoy being with other pupils at break times which encourages social interaction and enhances their quality of life. It was also important to have the Bronco Walker funded at this time as the plan is to make this available to families during the summer holidays.

We are really pleased to have this opportunity to support these young children. Our thanks also to Healthcare 21 for their help in providing this.




Bronco Walker Makes Therapy Fun

Bronco Walker Makes Therapy Fun

Joshua using the Bronco Walker in Mitchell House

We were recently asked by the Physio Department of Mitchell House School if our charity could purchase a Size 2 Bronco Walker for use by their pupils. This Walker allows children to be mobile and enjoy the freedom of walking. It also helps the Physio Department in teaching and encouraging young children with physical and learning disabilities to walk and can be adapted for many different children. Mitchell House had been using a smaller Bronco Walker in their nursery but as children move up into the main school they loose the opportunity to continue with this therapy. The larger size Bronco Walker 2 we have purchased will allow these children to be able to continue learning to walk both in therapy and also enjoy break times with other pupils, which enhances their quality of life. It was also important to have the Bronco Walker funded at this time as the plan is to make this available to families during the summer holidays.

We are really pleased to have this opportunity to support these young children. Our thanks also to Healthcare 21 for their help in providing this.




3 Caps for Chris Northern Ireland Euros Raffle – A Result

3 Caps for Chris Northern Ireland Euros Raffle – A Result

With Northern Ireland getting a great result V Ukraine and now into the last 16 of the Euros we are pleased to report another great result from the Emerald Team Halifax Mortgage Sales/Lloyds Telephone Banking who with our 3 “Chris” charity caps signed by Michael O’Neill, Jimmy Nicholl and Steven Davis, along with other N.I. Euros items and including a Euro Sweep, raised a tremendous £451.60. Congratulations to Karl McElroy for winning the full package and to Paula McAleese for all her organisation of this. Once again many thanks to David Currie, International Team Administration Manager with the IFA, for arranging for the caps to be signed. Good luck to the Northern Ireland team for their next game.




3 Caps for Chris Euros Raffle

3 Caps for Chris Euros Raffle 3 Caps for Chris Euros Raffle

Following on from the success of 30 Caps for Chris at our gala dinner last year we now have 3 more very special “Chris” charity caps signed by Michael O’Neill, Manager N Ireland, Jimmy Nicholl, Assistant Manager and Steven Davis, Captain. We have put together a Northern Ireland package for the Euros and the Emerald Team, Halifax Mortgage Sales, who are supporting us as their Charity of the Year, will use this to raise funds over the next few days from the staff in The Gasworks, Belfast. As well as our 3 charity caps in a presentation bag there are 2 NI Euros tee-shirts, 3 NI Euros CDs including “Making Our Way To Paris” and also a DVD of the film “Shooting for Socrates” on the Northern Ireland team in the Mexico World Cup 1986.

Our sincere thanks to Michael, Jimmy and Steven for signing these to help raise funds for Equipment and Duchenne Research. Our main thanks must go to David Currie, International Team Administration Manager with the IFA, who not only arranged for the caps to be signed but he also took the photos of Jimmy and Steven! Thanks also to Paula McAleese and the Emerald Team for their support with this and good luck in selling the tickets.




Remembering Christopher at Gala Dinner Awards Night

Remembering Christopher at Gala Dinner Awards Night

Brian Cassidy, Paula Galloway, Mayor Alan Graham, Geraldine, Gerry, Damian McCluskey

Remembering Christopher at Gala Dinner Awards Night

Geraldine, Baroness May Blood, Gerry

We were delighted to recently be presented with a Civic Award for Humanitarian Services by Ards & North Down Borough Council at a Gala Dinner in Bangor Town Hall. It was very special to receive this and we want to share this award with all our volunteers and everyone who has supported The Christopher McCollum Fund over the past 7/8 years. We sincerely thank the Council for selecting us and it was a lovely event to be at with 5 other worthy award winners. As well as a certificate presented by the Mayor, each award winner was given an engraved Tipperary crystal glass bowl by Baroness May Blood, who was the Keynote Speaker. The main thank you should go to Paula Galloway for not only thinking about the charity but also for then nominating us. It was good to have Paula with us at the event along with Brian Cassidy and Damian McCluskey as they all are supporting the charity so much this year. We have many memories of Christopher enjoying Council events so to then hear Mayor Alan Graham say how "in Christopher’s memory, the charity is purchasing equipment for young people with disabilities or life limited illnesses, as well as funds for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy”. As Gerry said on the night, it meant so much to us to be in Bangor Town Hall receiving this award as Christopher was born only a short distance away in Bangor Hospital almost 32 years ago but also as we are now approaching his 15th anniversary in September, to receive this brings so much purpose to his life and the legacy he left behind.




Fundraising Night of Hilarious Comedy

Fundraising Night of Hilarious Comedy

Bangor Civil Defence Services Club recently held another fundraising night on the 21st May. It was a comedy night featuring Neil Dougan, ably supported by Noel McLaren and Brian McCarron. They were all really funny and our thanks to Neil, Noel and Brian for giving everyone a great night. Once again we thank Brian Watson and the Committee for their continuing support over the past 8 months. Special thanks again must go to Brian Cassidy who put the whole night together, not only booking the three comedians, but also had DJ Brian Walsh to finish off the night with a great disco.

Thanks to everyone who supported the event, raffle, auction and to local Bangor businesses for donating raffle prizes, especially Angie McKee, a local Bangor artist, who donated a painting for the auction. A tremendous £700 was raised. We look forward to the next event.




Josh’s 10th Birthday Fundraiser for “Chris”

Josh’s 10th Birthday Fundraiser

Christmas 2014 was a special time for Joshua Strainger when we provided a Ppod seat for him. Then last December we received a lovely email from Josh’s mum Laura to say how beneficial the Ppod had been for Josh both at home and when he was in hospital. Some weeks ago we received another email from Laura to tell us it was Josh’s 10th birthday on the 6th May and they wanted to raise funds for the charity. They decided to ask friends/family not to buy a present for Josh but instead to make a donation to The Christopher McCollum Fund. What a wonderful gesture by Laura, Gillian and especially Josh to think of this and to play a part in helping another young person.

We sent them some charity items including the now famous “Chris” charity cap, a tee-shirt for Josh and they raised a fantastic £300. This is very special to us particularly as we approach Christopher’s 15th anniversary in September.

Thanks to everyone who supported them on the day and we send our love and best wishes to Josh.




Tray Bake Treats for “Chris” at Ulster Bank Bangor

Tray Bake Treats for “Chris” at Ulster Bank Bangor

It was great to be back in the Ulster Bank Bangor on Friday, 29th April for our third tray bake and coffee day. We are always impressed at the generousity of their customers, the interest they show in the charity and are really pleased to say a tremendous £194.17 was raised. As well as the funds raised, raising awareness on disability issues is also important to us. Our sincere thanks again to Paula Galloway, Ulster Bank for organising this, also the staff for their support and for preparing all the delicious tray bakes. Finally, a big thank you to the customers for their support on the day.




The Emerald Crew – In Belfast City Centre for “Chris”

The Emerald Crew – In Belfast City Centre for Chris The Emerald Crew – In Belfast City Centre for Chris

Lisa Davis and Stuart McWilliams

The Emerald Crew – In Belfast City Centre for Chris

Stephanie Hagan, Joanne Martin, Sasha Ferguson and David McPolin

Our thanks to the team from the Emerald Crew, Halifax Mortgage Sales, Lloyds Banking Group at The Gasworks, Belfast, who recently organised a street collection for The Christopher McCollum Fund in Belfast City Centre. It was a very wet day but they still collected £156.71 which when matched by Lloyds Foundation is a tremendous total of £313.42. As well as the funds raised to see the charity’s “Chris” caps and sashes in Belfast is very special for us. The team have another collection in Belfast on the 15th September which will be even more special as it will follow Christopher’s 15th anniversary on the 8th September. Our sincere thanks to everyone, umbrellas and all, for volunteering their time.




NICE Approve Funding for Translarna

NICE Approve Funding for Translarna

We are really pleased to say that NICE have recommended funding for Translarna – the first ever drug to potentially treat an underlying genetic cause of Duchenne MD. Translarna will treat approximately 13% of children whose Duchenne is caused by a nonsense mutation, are aged 5 and over and still walking. The next step is for NHS England to implement the decision as soon as possible. At a previous All Party Group meeting in Stormont, which we attended, Dean Sullivan, Director of Commissioning in the Health & Social Care Board NI, said if NICE approved Translarna it would be made available in Northern Ireland. Our other wish and hope is this will also now set a precedence for any other treatments which may be found in the future. We will continue to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund which funds projects to help find a combination of other treatments for other children with Duchenne MD.

For further information please visit: Muscular Dystrophy UK




Celebrating Easter with Chicks and Chocolate

Halifax Bake-Off - Beautiful Buns and Creative Cakes Celebrating Easter with Chicks and Chocolate

Following on from the recent Bun and Cake Sale the Emerald Crew of Lloyds Banking Group held a raffle for a special Easter hamper put together by Geraldine. With Matched Funding from Lloyds Foundation a further £266 has been raised. The lucky winner was Isleen O’Flaherty and our thanks to everyone who bought a ticket. Thanks again to Paula, Rachael, Jemma and the Crew for organising this. Their next event is a street collection in Belfast City Centre on Monday, 11th April. It is very special for us to have our “Chris” caps in Belfast for the first time so if you see them on the day, please give them your support.




Halifax Bake-Off - Beautiful Buns and Creative Cakes

Halifax Bake-Off - Beautiful Buns and Creative Cakes Halifax Bake-Off - Beautiful Buns and Creative Cakes Halifax Bake-Off - Beautiful Buns and Creative Cakes

What a fantastic selection of buns and cakes were on display when the Emerald Crew of Halifax Mortgage Sales organised another fundraising event to support “SpiritofChris” as their Charity of the Year 2016. We really loved the idea of the “SpiritofChris” cake and our thanks to Kristofer Gray and his wife Claire for their lovely creation. A tremendous £570 was raised. Our thanks again to Paula, Rachael, Jemma and to everyone who supported this.




Christopher’s Legacy – 15th Anniversary Year 2016

Our sincere thanks to Sarah Scott of Belfast Live for her lovely feature on Christopher’s story and The Christopher McCollum Fund. It is very special for us to see this as we approach Christopher’s 15th anniversary in September. Thanks also to Halifax Mortgage Sales at Lloyds Banking Group in Belfast for contacting Belfast Live on why their Emerald Crew have adopted The Christopher McCollum Fund as their Charity of the Year. To view the article please click on the picture below:

Christopher’s Legacy – 15th Anniversary Year 2016


It was a “Grand” Night in the CD Club for "Chris"

It was a “Grand” Night in the CD Club for Chris

We were again delighted to be at another fundraising event held in the Bangor Civil Defence Services Club last Friday. Firstly our thanks to Brian Watson and the Committee but special thanks though must go to Brian Cassidy for organising the night and arranging for “The Grand Camaros” to perform. They were really superb and our thanks to Gordon Thompson, Mark Brown, David Hughes and Glenn Gray for a brilliant performance. If you get the opportunity to see The Grand Camaros don’t miss it.

A tremendous £375 was raised and we thank everyone who supported the event. We look forward to the next event which we hear may be a “comedy night”.




The Emerald Crew - On The Streets of Armagh For "Chris"

The Emerald Crew - On The Streets of Armagh For Chris The Emerald Crew - On The Streets of Armagh For Chris

Our thanks to the Team from the Emerald Crew in Halifax Mortgage Sales, Lloyds Banking Group who organised a street collection for The Christopher McCollum Fund in Armagh on St Patrick’s Day. A tremendous £244 was collected which, with matched funding from Lloyds Foundation, amounts to £488. It meant a lot to us to know that for the first time our Chris caps and sashes will have travelled all the way to Armagh. This is the first of several street collections during the year which the Emerald Crew have organised with the next one being in Belfast city centre. Our sincere thanks to everyone who volunteered their time.




Halifax Mortgage Sales “Dress Down” for "Chris"

Halifax Mortgage Sales Dress Down for Chris Halifax Mortgage Sales Dress Down for Chris

It was great to recently receive a cheque for £1,167.00 from the Mortgage Sales Team at Lloyds Banking Group who are supporting us this year. The cheque included £547 raised from the St Valentine’s Day hamper and then a fantastic £620 from a Dress Down Day. We really appreciate this support and our thanks to Paula, Rachael, Jemma and everyone in the Emerald Crew at Halifax Mortgage Sales. Just to mention if you are in Armagh on St Patrick’s Day the Crew are holding a street collection for The Christopher McCollum Fund so please give them your support. Then following this on the 18th March they are holding a bun sale in their Gasworks office, along with a raffle for an Easter hamper which Geraldine has put together. Thanks everyone for your time and support.




Off To a Great Start at Lloyds Banking Group

>Off To a Great Start at Lloyds Banking Group

What a great beginning to our Charity Partnership Year with Halifax Mortgage Sales at Lloyds Banking Group, Belfast. For St Valentine’s weekend they held a raffle for a special Valentine’s hamper, put together by Geraldine, and this raised a fantastic £547. The lucky winner was Graeme McLean and our sincere thanks to everyone who bought a ticket. Special thanks must go to Paula McAleese for all her work in organising this and who is already planning several other events.




Celebrating St Valentine’s at Bangor CD Club’s Quiz Night

Celebrating St Valentine’s at Bangor CD Club’s Quiz Night Celebrating St Valentine’s at Bangor CD Club’s Quiz Night

It was great to be at the recent Quiz Night in Bangor Civil Defence Club who are supporting The Christopher McCollum Fund this year. This raised a further £252 and our sincere thanks to everyone who supported the event. Thanks also to Brian Watson for all his organisation, the Quizmaster Scott Harkins, who did a great job, and Michael, John Larmour and Brian Cassidy for their great musical contribution to close the night. It means a lot to us to have this local support and also gave Gerry the opportunity to talk about Christopher, the charity, equipment and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to a new audience. Being Valentine’s weekend part of the raffle was a Valentine Hamper which Geraldine put together and was won by Brian Muldoon who very generously put this up for auction. It raised another £40 --- bought by Brian himself. We look forward to the next event.




LoveBelfast Features “SpiritofChris” Partnership in Charity News

A Christmas to Remember for Grace

A big thank you to LoveBelfast for putting on their Facebook the announcement from Lloyds Banking Group about their charity partnership with The Christopher McCollum Fund. This is great promotion for us and raises awareness of our charit to a much wider audience. Our thanks again to LBG and to view the article please visit:

http://lovebelfast.co.uk/the-christopher-mccollum-fund/




Lloyds Banking Group Adopt "Spiritof Chris"

Making A Difference Together Making A Difference Together

L/R Geraldine, Damian McCluskey, Paula McAleese, Jemma Stewart, Rachael Mallon and Gerry

We are really delighted to announce a charity partnership for 2016 with the Mortgage Sales Team, Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) within their Customer Contact Centre at The Gasworks in Belfast. This is great recognition for our charity. We are very impressed how LBG dedicate their support and also fundraise for charities like ours. As many as 60 staff will be taking part in "Days To Make A Difference"..”., volunteering and fundraising for us. “Days To Make A Difference” is a Lloyds Banking Group shceme where colleagues allocate a full day during their working hours to help support local causes in the community.

Damian McCluskey, Senior Team Manager at Lloyds Banking Group said “We are delighted to have formed this new partnership with The Christopher McCollum Fund. Their story has really inspired us and it is very clear that they are providing great support in our local community. Over the next 12 months we will do all we can to support them to help raise awareness and vital funds that helps further research and purchases equipment that significantly increases the quality of life of many young people”.

The “Make A Difference” scheme fits very well with what our charity does which is to Make A Difference in the lives of young disabled people and improve their Quality Of Life. We appreciate the time and effort that the staff will dedicate to us and we look forward to working with them over the next 12 months.




Gala Dinner Cheque Presentation at Stormont

Gala Dinner Cheque Presentation at Stormont

Following our “A Question of Support” gala dinner in November we have now donated our cheque for £8,756.25 to the Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. It meant a lot to us to make this presentation at the Duchenne Research & Information Day in the Long Gallery Stormont on the 1st February and especially as Dr Marita Pohlschmidt, Director of Research at MDUK was a speaker at the event. It was then encouraging to hear Marita talk about the various projects that are currently being funded by the DRB Fund to help find a treatment, or maybe, as Marita said, a combination of treatments for Duchenne MD.

The Christopher McCollum Fund made the first official donation to this fund at its launch in 2012 when we presented a cheque for £1,000 to Marita and we are pleased to say we have now helped fund 400 hours of vital research time. Once again we thank everyone who attended the gala dinner for their support. Special thanks must go also to Geoff Goldsborough, our auctioneer, who in his own inimitable way raised £5,400 on the night. The balance of £8,756.25 will be used toward equipment.




A Christmas to Remember for Grace

A Christmas to Remember for Grace

We were really pleased to purchase a Topend Excelerator Trike for Grace Boyle which was supplied by Disability Needs, Belfast in time for Christmas. Grace, aged 8, who lives in Belfast has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Her condition has resulted in absent/reduced movement and loss of sensation in her lower limbs. Grace also wears foot and ankle splints to support her feet in a good position. In the past couple of years Grace has been using a hand propelled trike in Fleming Fulton school. She had the loan of the trike in the summer at home but this had to be returned to school. After receiving a letter of recommendation from her school physio and, seeing the overall benefit that this trike has been for Grace, we were pleased to purchase this for her. This will allow her to enjoy her independence with increased social participation at home which will improve her quality of life. The NHS will not provide this piece of equipment. Her mum Claire said: “I just wanted to thank you very much for Grace's bike. She loves it so much, I had one happy girl on Christmas morning.”

Many happy hours of cycling Grace




Marc Bigger

Marc Bigger

We are very saddened to hear that Marc Bigger has passed away today. Marc was aged 19 and had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It was an honour for us to help provide a powered wheelchair for Marc in 2013 and in time for him to take to Paris to represent Ireland in the Powerchair Football Tournament. Who will ever forget the goal of the tournament Marc scored and which can be seen on our website. Marc was a very courageous young man who showed his courage in coming to Stormont in 2012 to tell MLAs how he felt and to try and help others. Thanks for all those memories Marc and it was a privilege to know you. Our sincere sympathy and thoughts go to his mum Marina and all the family circle.

Gerry and Geraldine




Thank You Everyone - 2015

Thank You Everyone - 2015

The Fabulous 5 and Us in The Black Box, Belfast

We would like to thank everyone who has supported The Christopher McCollum Fund in 2015 either with donations, volunteering their time or supporting our events. It has been a special year in which we marked Christopher’s 30th with 30 Songs for Chris in The Black Box, The 8 Mile Walk in the Belfast Marathon and 30 Caps for Chris as part of our charity gala dinner in the Culloden. We were delighted to purchase 6 items of equipment for young disabled people and also have raised £11,650 for the MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. We could not have achieved this without everyone’s support.

We wish everyone a happy 2016

Gerry and Geraldine




Life Changing PPod Aids Josh’s Recovery

Life Changing PPod Aids Josh’s Recovery

We received this lovely message and photos from Josh Strainger’s mum Laura and want to share it with everyone. Laura said “It's been one year since our not-so-little man received his PPOD specialist Chair from The Christopher McCollum Fund!.. This year Josh has had his second hip surgery and due his 3rd at the start of the new year. The PPOD has been a life saver before and after surgery. It was the only mobility chair he could use when in his Hip-Spica cast for 6weeks. His orthopaedic surgeon in the Royal hospital has also suggested (after seeing the chair) that it be bought for the surgical ward for children recovering from hip surgery! She loves it! Josh is just so comfortable in it, it has honestly changed his life! Thank you again. We will never forget your generosity!”

Thanks Laura for letting us know how beneficial the PPod has been for Josh both at home as well as hospital and how this has improved his quality of life over the past year. We wish you all a good Christmas and hope Josh’s surgery goes well.




Natasha’s Veldink Wheelchair Creates Fairy Dust

Natasha’s Veldink Wheelchair Creates Fairy Dust

We were really pleased to have helped purchase a new Veldink Kiddo Tilt wheelchair for Natasha Falls which was supplied by Murrays Medical. Natasha is aged 8, has a rare chromosome disorder 18Q, which affects her mobility, and lives in Ballygowan. Her current wheelchair, provided by the NHS, is heavy and cumbersome, is difficult to push and has an adult frame. The new wheelchair is much lighter and gives Natasha the freedom to enjoy family life much more. The NHS is unable to provide the Veldink wheelchair. We received a letter from Natasha’s OT on this and that the wheelchair is suitable for her needs.

Natasha received her wheelchair some weeks ago but with items on our gala dinner we decided to wait until now to share this with everyone. Natasha’s mum Natalie was fundraising for this and we were very happy to pay the outstanding balance. Natalie said “Natasha is so comfortable and the big bonus is it is light to push. We are loving it and really appreciate all your help and support to enable me to get the chair for Natasha. Without your Fund it would not have been possible to give her such a unique chair”. Check out her very special spoke guards!

Once again we thank everyone who supports the charity which has helped to improve Natasha’s quality of life. We send our best wishes to Natasha and wish her and her family a Happy Christmas.




Campaigners for Real Ale Support Chris

Campaigners for Real Ale Support Chris

We are really pleased to say that our 3 days at the Belfast Beer & Cider Festival in the Ulster Hall, Belfast raised a tremendous total of £1,254. This was a combination of members of the public donating their unused tokens amounting to £644 plus cash donations of £610. Once again we thank Clive Talbot for putting the charity forward and the CAMRA NI (Campaign for Real Ale) committee for choosing The Christopher McCollum Fund for this year’s event. It was really great for the charity to be part of this and especially being in the Ulster Hall. It was also the first time we have been “resident” at an event over 3 days and nights! Thanks again to everyone for their support.

Campaigners for Real Ale Support Chris

Danny Kinahan MP who opened the Festival




A Question of Support – The Final Result

A Question of Support – The Final Result

As promised here is the final update on our QoS Charity Gala Dinner which was held in the wonderful Culloden Estate & Spa. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the 330 people who supported our event and are pleased to say that, subject to receiving all auction monies, a total of £17,512 was raised on the night – a tremendous sum. As previously agreed £8,756 will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund and the other £8,756 used to buy equipment for young disabled people. We managed to pack a lot into the night and a big thank you must go to our fantastic band Peach who packed the dance floor until the end. Once again we would like to thank Jackie Fullerton who was the perfect host and played a key part in ensuring the night was a success. Sincere thanks once more to our principal guest Dame Mary Peters and special guests Jim Boyce, Paddy Wallace, David Campbell, Lorraine Sass, Glenn Ross and Jimmy Curran who all entered into the spirit of the event. Also thanks to Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of MDUK, and to Sue Barker, President of MDUK, for her on-screen welcome and a round of NI sports questions. Roger Moffitt also played a great part in both drafting and reading the rest of the quiz questions.

Congratulations to the quiz winners Josh’s Giants, captained by Dave McClean whose son Josh has Duchenne MD and who were presented with their medals by Dame Mary Peters and Jim Boyce. They were closely followed in joint second place by the Hospital Hopefuls and Harry Potter has Hogwarts! Again a big thank you to the senior boys and officers from 3rd Bangor Boys Brigade for all their help on the night and to Irene Irwin, Dessie and Maureen Hill for their expertise behind the scenes. Thanks also to our photographer David of David A Scott Photography for his coverage of the night, Roy Porter of Focus AV, Leona McEvoy for all her advice and Damien Green for the Event and 30 Caps posters. We would also like to acknowledge the part played by the many sponsors who supported the event and in particular Robin Fergusson of Chemical Treatment Services (Ireland) Ltd. Our special thanks to Leslie Hughes who sponsored both Acoustocratz and Peach and whose support was invaluable.

Finally, we hope we have successfully helped to raise the profile of both Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and all other Muscular Dystrophy conditions which affects 2,000 people in Northern Ireland.

A Question of Support – The Final Result A Question of Support – The Final Result A Question of Support – The Final Result A Question of Support – The Final Result A Question of Support – The Final Result A Question of Support – The Final Result



"Remembering George Best – 25th November 2015"

Remembering George Best – 25th November 2015

The Christopher McCollum Fund is remembering George Best as this is the 10th Anniversary of his passing. We will never forget the special 5 mins George spent with Christopher in August 2000 at The Midland Hotel in Manchester. Christopher and dad Gerry were outside waiting to go to a United game. George arrived by taxi and went inside. The hotel was packed. Christopher said “Have to meet him” and Gerry had to stop him going after George. Gerry went in and spoke to Phil Hughes, George’s Agent. A few minutes later George came all the way outside to meet Christopher with the words “Hello young man how are you?” George was in good health at that time and we got this wonderful photo which has been on our website Home page since 2008. George also was the last sports personality Christopher met before he himself passed away a year later. When he went back to school, despite again meeting Beckham, Keane etc, all he could tell people was “I met George Best”. It showed the magnitude of George to someone like Christopher who had never played football or saw him play. For Gerry to see Christopher and George together is one of his special memories as George was his favourite player and the greatest footballer ever. Despite his illness and problems George proved that day what a special person he was.

Later at the match George, along with Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton, were each presented with a special award by Eusebio. The Newcastle fans booed Denis and even Sir Bobby but, as George got his award he took the mike, turned to the Newcastle fans, waved to them and said “Hello Newcastle fans I hope you have a great season”. The Newcastle fans clapped him!! That was the magic and charisma of George Best. Thanks George and thinking of you and all your family on this 10th Anniversary.





“Next Stop for “Chris” – Belfast Beer & Cider Festival, Ulster Hall

Next Stop for Chris – Belfast Beer & Cider Festival, Ulster Hall

We are pleased to say that the Belfast Beer & Cider Festival 2015 have chosen The Christopher McCollum Fund as their charity this year. It is held on 19th – 21st November in the Ulster Hall mid-day to 11:00pm! It is great to see this and we thank Clive for putting us forward after he was at the 30 Songs for Chris at The Black Box, and also the committee for choosing us. This is a great finish to a great year for the charity – a year ago London, then The Black Box Belfast, then the Culloden Hotel and now another iconic venue the Ulster Hall. Please see the link to the Festival and click on “Festival Charity” - www.belfastbeerfestival.co.uk


Hope we may see you there.




QoS – What a Peach of a Night in November it was

QoS – What a Peach of a Night in November it was

This is just a brief recap of A Question of Support gala dinner last Friday. We thank everyone who attended, donated to 30 Caps for Chris, Raffle and the Silent and main auctions. Thanks also to all our special guests which included Dame Mary Peters and Paddy Wallace together with our host Jackie Fullerton, who proved what being a “legend” really means. Jackie was fantastic. The night was also enhanced by the senior boys from 3rd Bangor BB, where Christopher was a member and who were our team of table Runners for the night. Our thanks to each of the boys, Capt Jeff Bingham and Officers Eddie Robinson & Robin Gourley. Our Quizmaster Roger Moffitt deserves a big thank you for his questions and answers.

Acoustocratz were brilliant in starting the night for us for the drinks reception and again as Peach when they performed to finish the night. Most important though was raising the profile of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and all MD conditions as well of course as raising funds for equipment and Duchenne research with MDUK. More information on the amount raised and photos will follow.

QoS – What a Peach of a Night in November it was QoS – What a Peach of a Night in November it was


A Question of Support – 30 Caps for Chris

A Question of Support – 30 Caps for Chris

Hard to believe the dinner is this Friday after 6 months of planning. We are pleased to say 330 people will be there and we thank everyone who has bought a ticket. It will be a packed night with the Quiz followed by 30 Caps for Chris to help raise funds. Question - “what have Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Van Morrison, Sir Clive Woodward, Eamonn Holmes, James Nesbitt, Ed Sheeran all have in common - they have all signed a Chris cap for A Question of Support”. Our thanks to everyone who has signed a cap and also all those who have helped to get them signed. We hope it will be “A Peach of a Night in November” as the band Peach will close the evening but they will also be performing as Acoustocratz at the drinks reception. We are asking everyone to arrive from 6:45pm as we hope to start the meal at 7:45pm after the on screen welcome from Sue Barker. Looking forward to seeing everyone.




CD Club Off To a Good Start

CD Club Off To a Good Start

The Bangor Civil Defence Services Club, who have chosen us as their charity to September 2016 recently held their first event being a Quiz. It was lovely to hear from Brian Watson that a tremendous £250 was raised on the night. This is a really great start to their year of support. Sincere thanks to everyone who took part in the quiz.




Welcome Home James

Welcome Home James

We are really pleased to have purchased a PPod seat for James Taylor. James is 16 months old, lives in Cloughey, and has severe Bronchomalcia which requires respiratory support in the form of CPAP through a tracheotomy. He has other medical problems and James is the youngest child we have been able to support. James has spent a large part of his life in the Ulster or Royal Victoria Children’s hospitals as it has been difficult to manage him at home. We were first approached by the Ulster Hospital to see if we could provide a PPod seat which was to be part of a home care package for him. The NHS was unable to provide this piece of equipment. We spoke to James’ mum Joanne, received letters and emails from Health Care professionals to support this and were really happy to provide this. James is clearly a very special boy and we send our best wishes to him, his mum and dad and family. Joanne said “Our precious wee man is now home. The PPod has been fantastic for James so a great big thank you from all of us. It allows James to interact more in family life and sit up without too much pressure on his lungs and heart. We are forever indebted to your charity.” Thanks Joanne and once again our thanks to everyone who supports the charity without whom this would not have been possible.




Bangor Civil Defence Services Club – Charity of the Year

Bangor Civil Defence Services Club – Charity of the Year

We are really pleased to say that the Bangor Civil Defence Services Club have chosen The Christopher McCollum Fund as their nominated charity until September 2016. The Club was founded in 1945 and is based on Victoria Road. Their website address is: www.cdclubbangor.com It always means so much to us when we are chosen by a local Bangor society and our sincere thanks go to Brian Watson and the Committee. We would also like to thank Brian Cassidy who put the charity forward. We look forward to working with the Committee over the coming year.




Billy Enjoys a Movie

Billy Enjoys a Movie

We recently had a lovely message from Billy Douglas’ mum Savien. Billy has Cerebral Palsy and we recently purchased a specialist Hudson chair for him. Savien has just sent a message saying: "Billy watching a movie in total comfort. It's amazing how much of a difference correct seating makes. Thank you x"

It is great to see Billy looking so comfortable. As well as funding an item of equipment one of the main aims of the charity is to help improve quality of life. Once again we thank everyone who supports the charity and therefore helps improve the quality of life of young people like Billy.

Keep enjoying the movies Billy.




World Duchenne Awareness Day (WDAD)

World Duchenne Awareness Day (WDAD)

The 7th September is now recognised as World Duchenne Awareness Day (WDAD). The 7th and 8th September are two special dates for us as Christopher passed away on the 8th September 2001. It is great to see more awareness being raised about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. We are also pleased to support MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. Since this was launched in October 2012 The Christopher McCollum Fund has donated £7,295 which has funded 209 hours of vital research. On WDAD MDUK announced a further £750,000 will be invested later this year to fund further research into Duchenne MD.

We are sharing two links to MDUK both on how the £750,000 will be used and also information on funds raised for the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. With our Charity Gala Dinner in November, when half the proceeds raised will go towards the DRBF, it is good to be able to see how well funds raised for research are being used by MDUK. We look forward to the day when a treatment may be found for Duchenne MD.

Please visit: £750,000

Please visit: DRBF




Grace Enjoys Quality Time on Holiday

Grace Enjoys Quality Time on Holiday

We have just received a special update on Grace Bridgett for whom we purchased a Special Tomato Jogger back in May. At that time we were unable to get a photo of Grace but her mum Joanne has just sent us a lovely photo we thought we would share with you. Grace who is aged 7 has Down’s Syndrome and also has low tone throughout her body which causes great difficulty for her walking long distances. Grace is on her holidays and her mum Joanne emailed to say: "We are on holiday at the minute and it is very warm. Grace loves the pool. We cannot thank you enough, the buggy is fantastic and has been wonderful on holiday. So easy to push but more important Grace is comfortable and makes it less stressful for us". It is great to see how beneficial equipment can be not just for home use but for someone like Grace and her family to be able to take on holiday.

Thanks Joanne. Best wishes again Grace and thanks again to everyone who supports the charity and helps young people like Grace.




A Big Thank You to the Bangor Public

A Big Thank You to the Bangor Public

We held our 5th Street Collection on the 25th July and a tremendous £438.86 was collected. This will go towards Equipment for young disabled people. Yet again it was another inspiring day for all our volunteers and once more the generosity of the Bangor public was overwhelming. We received 224 £1 coins which gives an idea of the number of people who stopped by. As always, while they asked about “Chris”, it was very special for all of us to hear some of their stories as well. Our thanks to Jenny McQuitty, Jill Hardy, Willie and Maureen Kenny and also Brian Cassidy who joined us for the first time and got us off to a great start. It was also very special for all of us to have Christopher’s best friend Christopher Hardy back collecting with us again as he has been in Australia, New Zealand and the Far East for almost 3 years. Thank you all for giving up your time.




Brave Billy’s Special Chair Arrives

Brave Billy’s Special Chair Arrives

We were really pleased to provide a Hudson Tilting Chair which was custom made for Billy Douglas who lives in Comber. Billy who is aged 6½ has Cerebral Palsy and had pioneering surgery in 2012 to help him walk. He wears leg braces and recently had a body brace fitted so it is important he has a chair in which he is supported, comfortable and doesn’t slide down when sitting. In support of this we received a letter of recommendation from Billy’s Specialist Physiotherapist who said the NHS is unable to provide this piece of equipment. We felt Billy deserved to get this special chair which will greatly enhance his quality of life. It can be moved from room to room in his house which allows him to take part in family gatherings. Billy’s mum Savien said:

"Hi there, the chair arrived and is amazing! Billy is thrilled and says thank you. This chair has this evening, made a huge difference in our livingroom. For the first time, Billy has been able to sit in comfort at the same time as been fully supported and enjoy family life being 'normal' for the first time ever. Thank you all ever so much. Savien, Billy and family x"

Best wishes Billy and a big thank you to everyone who supports our charity for making this happen.




"A Question of Support" – Charity Gala Dinner

A Question of Support – Charity Gala Dinner

We are pleased to say arrangements for The Christopher McCollum Fund ‘A Question of Support’, in association with Muscular Dystrophy UK, are proceeding well. This promises to be a special night and WHY? - ‘Because Muscles Matter to Us’. Enjoy a Gala night in the fabulous Culloden Estate & Spa with a red carpet, drinks/music reception, on screen welcome from Sue Barker (President of MDUK) followed by a 4 course meal. A short quiz will follow with the 1st round a set of NI sports questions, requested and recorded by Sue in the BBC Question of Sport Studios. The rest of the quiz will be a mix of general knowledge with some twists. It will be fun. We will have some unique auction/raffle/ballot prizes with a special feature being ‘30 Caps for Chris’. Then a fantastic band to play out the evening.

We are delighted to have Jackie Fullerton as our Host and already two special guests Dame Mary Peters and Jim Boyce will be there to support this event. Half the funds raised we will use to buy Equipment for young disabled people, to improve their quality of life and donate the other half to MDUK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund to help accelerate finding a treatment for Duchenne. ‘Because Muscles Matter to Us’ the Gala night is also to raise the profile of ALL MD conditions which affects 2,000 people in NI. Please book your tickets now as there is an early ticket price of £50 available until 12 July.

We hope you will be able to join us for what will be a superb evening - WHY?
‘Because Muscles Matter to Us’.




8 Miles for Chris – A Great Result

8 Miles for Chris – A Great Result

What a great result for 8 Miles for Chris. A total of 64 miles was walked by Nadine, Lesley, Victoria, Lisa, Nichola, Sharon, Alison and Geraldine and the total they have raised is a fantastic £1,682.50. Half the proceeds will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund which will fund nearly three days of vital research. We really believe a treatment for Duchenne may be found in the next 10 years and everyone will have played a part in that. The other half of the proceeds will be used to purchase equipment for young disabled people and help improve their quality of life.

Well done everyone and sincere thanks to all their sponsors.




Special Tomato Jogger Pushchair for Grace

Special Tomato Jogger Pushchair for Grace

We were delighted to purchase a Special Tomato Jogger Pushchair for 7 year old Grace Bridgett who lives in Annahilt and has Down’s Syndrome. Grace also has low tone throughout her body which causes great difficulty in walking long distances. The pushchair supports Grace’s postural needs as well as allowing her to participate in family activities. We received a letter of recommendation from her Occupational Therapist to support the purchase of this item. The NHS are unable to provide this pushchair as Grace does not meet the wheelchair criteria for a buggy even though she is unable to walk long distances. We felt Grace deserves this special pushchair and it will help enhance her quality of life. Best wishes Grace.




Luke Gets His Musketeer Wheels

Luke Gets His Musketeer Wheels

We are really delighted to have purchased a Special Musketeer Trike for 4 year old Luke O’Hanlon who lives in Coalisland and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. When Luke’s mum Claire asked if the trike was something the charity could provide we immediately knew that it was. We know the benefit of this to a young Duchenne boy as Christopher had a trike which at that time was provided by the NHS, however, they no longer provide these. As the Musketeer can be pushed from behind this helps Luke to pedal and still enjoy pedalling even if he gets tired and this is particularly beneficial for a young boy with Duchenne. Claire said "It is great. He absolutely loves it and there was a little emotional moment in the shop when he sat on it and pedalled it. It was his first time pedalling a bike and he had one very proud mummy.xx"




8 Miles for Chris

8 Miles for Chris

August 2000

8 Miles for Chris

January 2001

After 30 Songs for Chris we now have 8 Miles for Chris. Christopher’s cousin Nadine said she would like to do the 8 Mile Walk in the Belfast City Marathon in memory of Christopher and his 30th year. Christopher and Nadine were born in September 1984. Nadine has now been joined by Christopher’s cousins Lesley, Lisa, Nichola and Victoria along with his aunts Alison and Sharon. To make up 8 people for the 8 Mile Walk mum Geraldine will join them on the 4th May. We hope you will support them either on line with JustGiving or their individual sponsorship form. Being Christopher’s 30th year the funds raised will be divided between Equipment for young disabled people and the Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. The JustGiving page is Christopher’s Ladies 2015 and the link is: www.justgiving.com/theladies2015/


We wish them all good luck on the day.




"30 Songs for Chris" - The Finale

30 Songs for Chris - The Finale 30 Songs for Chris - The Finale

Again, thank you Anthony Toner, Ben Glover, Brendan Murphy, Matt McGinn and John McCullough for giving us all such a magical night of music in The Black Box on the 9th April. For us it was a special way to mark Christopher’s 30th year. It was great to see five of our best Northern Ireland singer/songwriters and piano player get together and put on a performance everyone who was there will remember for a long time. We are also pleased to say it was a successful night for the charity and a tremendous £1,459.26 was raised. As said half the proceeds will go to the Muscular Dystrophy UK Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund and half to Equipment for young disabled people. We thank Anthony, Ben, Brendan, Matt and John for giving up their time to help raise such a sum but there are others we must thank as well.

To everyone who came on the night, supported the Raffle and also bought our 30 Songs wristbands. Also to Sarah Jones of The Black Box for all her support to the charity and also the staff who helped on the night. To the wonderful Kimmie Rhodes for promoting 30 Songs when she was in The Black Box on the 19th March as well as donating signed CDs for the Raffle. To James Rollins, Music Publicist, for all his promoting and tweeting and John McGurk of The Sunday Life. To our friends who helped on the night: Brian, Alex, Ronnie, Bill and Alison, and Geordie and Norma.




"Coffee Day Ulster Bank + A Random Act of Kindness"

Coffee Day Ulster Bank + A Random Act of Kindness

It was lovely to be in the Ulster Bank Bangor again on the 27th March for a tray bake and coffee day. We are pleased to say that £170.86 was raised but following an unexpected generous donation from a customer the final total was £1,170.86. This was a wonderful Act of Kindness on their part. If the Ulster Bank had not supported us this way the charity would not have received this donation. The proceeds will be divided equally between the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund and for Equipment for young disabled people. Our sincere thanks to Paula Galloway, Ulster Bank for organising the day and of course the wonderful customers of Ulster Bank, Bangor.




"Songwriters for Chris" - Night to Remember

30 Songs for CHRIS

Brendan Murphy, John, Matt, Anthony Toner, Geraldine, Gerry, Ben Glover

A short report on 30 Songs for Chris. Full report in a week or so when we know the total amount raised. But... what a night! Black Box packed. Atmosphere great. Thanks to everyone who came along and we know they enjoyed a "master class" night of songs, guitar + piano playing, lots of craic from Anthony Toner, Ben Glover, Brendan Murphy, Matt McGinn and John McCullough on piano. Thanks so much guys for giving everyone a Night to Remember. An honour for The Christopher McCollum Fund to have your support. Big thanks also to The Black Box for their support. A great venue. Already getting requests for 31 Songs next year!!




Easter Raffle in ASDA

30 Songs for CHRIS

Susan Murphy, Hannah McCauley, Geraldine

It was great to be back again in ASDA Bangor on Saturday, 21st March with our in-store table collection. ASDA very kindly donated one of their large Easter eggs to go with our Easter Cheeky Chick for us to raffle. A tremendous £248.86 was raised in total which will be divided equally between Equipment for young disabled people and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. As usual we met some wonderful people and it was also great to have the opportunity again to promote the work of the charity and also raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The raffle was won by a couple from Belfast who said they were “over the moon” to win this. We again thank Sarah Crowe from ASDA for supporting the charity and of course their very generous customers for their support. Our thanks also to our volunteers, Susan, Hannah and Jenny, for their support on the day.




30 Songs for Chris – Don’t Miss Out!

30 Songs for CHRIS

Just to let you know tickets are selling for this great and unique night of music to help mark Christopher’s 30th year. Proceeds will go to Equipment for young disabled people and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. Anthony Toner was on the Gerry Kelly Radio Ulster Show and Gerry was almost speechless when Anthony read out all the names of the artists who are performing, probably all together on stage for the first time. As we have said before these are five of the best singer/songwriters ever in NI along with the wonderful John McCullough on keyboards. It will be a fantastic night of music and fun packing in the 30 songs. We will also be holding a ballot which will include a prize donated by The Black Box.

There is a bar inside the venue and for further information and tickets please visit: The Black Box Event Page




"A Question of Support" – Coming to Belfast

A Question of Support

We have been planning to hold this event for two years and are really pleased to let everyone know it has now been booked. While it is The Christopher McCollum Fund Question of Support Dinner and Quiz it is in association with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. We wanted to organise the first major Question of Support event in NI and to use it to promote, not just Duchenne, but all Muscular Dystrophy conditions. It will be a gala night in the fabulous Culloden Hotel, with a red carpet, drinks and music reception on arrival, a four course meal and an auction/ballot. A leading businessman, at his own expense, has booked a great band to close the night. As the main focus of the night will be a quiz we spoke to Sue Barker, President of MD and Sue will be on screen having recorded a great introduction along with a set of NI sports questions both recorded in the BBC Question of Sport studios. We plan also to have a number of celebs/sports personalities at some of the tables. Half the proceeds will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund and half to help us buy equipment for young disabled people.

Please note the date, spread the word, think of booking a table with family, friends or business colleagues or if you have any contacts for sponsorship or special guests let us know at: info@spiritofchris.com. We hope to have the full event poster available just after Easter with all the details including ticket information etc.

Along with Michaela’s Marathon on the 21st June we hope that these two events will help put Muscular Dystrophy firmly on the map in Northern Ireland, not just for now, but into the future.




30 Songs for "CHRIS"

30 Songs for CHRIS

Our thanks to Anthony Toner for designing this great poster for the special Songwriters in the Round event on the 9th April to raise funds for The Christopher McCollum Fund. All proceeds will go towards Equipment for young disabled people and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. This is a very special event for us and a lovely way to remember what would have been Christopher’s 30th year. To see these five great local singer/songwriters along with the wonderful John McCullough on piano come together to perform 30 songs on the night means so much to us.

Sincere thanks to Anthony Toner for contacting everyone, booking The Black Box and of course designing the poster. We really hope the event will be well supported and we know everyone will enjoy listening to some really great music.

The venue in The Black Box seats 170 at small tables with limited standing room. Please visit their website to purchase tickets: The Black Box website

There is a multi storey car park less than 5 mins away behind St Anne’s Cathedral.




"CHRIS" reaches over £5,000 for Duchenne Research

CHRIS reaches over £5,000 for Duchenne Research

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund was officially launched here in Northern Ireland in October 2012 and we were delighted to be appointed Ambassadors for this. Following our recent donations totalling £614, The Christopher McCollum Fund has so far donated a total of £5,015 to this Research Fund. It means a lot to us at such a critical time, when scientists are getting closer to finding a treatment for Duchenne, that we have reached this amount. This will have funded a total of 143 hours of vital research time. Once again we thank all our volunteers for their help in achieving this.



Valentine’s Day in Sainsbury’s Bangor

Valentine’s Day in Sainsbury’s Bangor

Geraldine, Cathryn Gibson (Muscular Dystrophy), Gerry

It was great to be back again in Sainsbury’s Bangor on Saturday, 14th February with our in-store table collection. Sainsbury’s very kindly donated one of their large Valentine’s Day teddy bears for us to raffle. A tremendous £229.84 was raised in total which will be divided equally between Equipment and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. As usual we met some wonderful people and it was also great to have the opportunity again to promote the work of the charity and also raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The teddy bear was won by Denis and Ann Brown of Bangor who have decided to name the bear “Chris”. Once again we thank Sainsbury’s and their customers for their support.




30 Songs for "CHRIS"

30 Songs for CHRIS

A special Songwriters in the Round concert in aid of The Christopher McCollum Fund to mark Christopher’s 30th year.

Featuring:

Ben Glover, Brendan Murphy, Eilidh Patterson, Anthony Toner, Matt McGinn & John McCullough

Tickets £12

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm

Tickets available here from The Black Box website

Proceeds to equipment and the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund

Event poster and further details will follow shortly.




Thank You Letter from Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

Thank You Letter from Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

We recently received a nice thank you letter from Andrew Moran, Supporter Services Manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign regarding the £299.15 we donated from the total amount of £598.30 recently raised at "Brian’s Acoustic Night" in The Imperial Bar Bangor. Andrew also kindly sent a thank you letter to Brian Cassidy as well. This was donated to the MDC Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. We are really pleased to continue to support the Breakthrough Fund, especially at such a critical time in research to help find treatments for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The balance amount is being used towards equipment.




Ppod Christmas Music from Josh

Ppod Christmas Music from Josh

The charity was really pleased to recently purchase a special Ppod seat for Joshua Strainger. Joshua who is eight years of age and lives in Craigavon has Cerebral Palsy and other conditions. He is unable to sit upright unsupported. Following a letter we received from Joshua’s consultant supporting a Ppod seat we were happy to purchase this. The seat will help Joshua be much more comfortable and help him interact with his family. The NHS would not provide this piece of equipment. It was great that the seat arrived in time for Christmas and it was lovely for us when Joshua’s mum emailed photos of him on Christmas Day. Laura said: "Thank you so much. You have made a little boy very happy. Josh is loving his Ppod and is very rarely out of it!"

Best Wishes Josh




Brian’s Acoustic Night for "CHRIS"

Brian’s Acoustic Night for CHRIS

L/R Billy Harrison, Willie Byrne, Brian Cassidy, Caoimhe, Geraldine, Gerry and Eric Bell

Brian’s Acoustic Night for CHRIS

Charity poster

Our sincere thanks to Brian Cassidy who organised an Acoustic Night for "CHRIS" in the Imperial Bar, Bangor. It was a great night which began with a talented new singer Caoimhe and was then followed by a brilliant performance from Willie Byrne who on acoustic guitar performed a wide range of well known songs. The night was made even more special as Brian had invited along two Northern Ireland music legends. They were the fantastic Eric Bell, a founder of Thin Lizzy and guitarist on ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and also Billy Harrison, who along with Van Morrison, was a member of the group Them. Thank you Eric and Billy for also signing our charity poster to help raise funds. A tremendous £598.30 was raised on the night of which 50% will be used to buy equipment and 50% donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. A big thank you to Brian for all his hard work in helping to raise such a tremendous amount.




iPad for art-mad pupil Tiernon

iPad for art-mad pupil Tiernon

The charity was really pleased to purchase a new iPad and printer for 10 year old Tiernon McCartney who lives in Coleraine and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. We were recently contacted by Isobel Douglas, Regional Specialist Neuromuscular Nurse for young people with Muscular Dystrophy, who is based at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, to see if our charity could help with IT equipment. The teaching staff at Ballysally PS, advised Isobel that Tiernon had shown great promise as an artist. As Tiernon suffers from muscle weakness providing this equipment will assist him to further develop his artistic skills at home. It was lovely for us to meet Tiernon when we delivered the equipment to his school. We know how important it is for a boy with Duchenne to have something to focus on which he is passionate about and we were really pleased to support Tiernon in this way.

Please see below an article from the Coleraine Times:

iPad surprise for art-mad pupil Tiernon

iPad for art-mad pupil Tiernon

Coleraine schoolboy with a love and talent for art has been given an iPad by a Bangor charity that supports children living with a disability.

The Christopher McCollum Fund was set up in 2008, to provide funds to help purchase a wheelchair, or other equipment for young people aged 18 or under who have a disability or illness and which may be life limited.

And recently, the parents of Christopher - Geraldine and Gerry - visited Ballysally Primary School to hand over an iPad and printer to P7 youngster Tiernon McCartney.

“Tiernon has shown a talent for art so the iPad will help him to pursue his interest in drawing,” explained the Spirit of Chris charity’s Geraldine McCollum.

“Tiernon was referred to us by his neuromuscular nurse at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Isobel Douglas.

“One of our aims is to improve the quality of life of young people by providing them with equipment such as wheelchairs.”

“Like our son Christopher, who died in 2001, Tiernon suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

“He didn’t know he was getting the iPad so it was a big surprise for him - he was overwhelmed.

“He will now be able to access drawing apps with it and also print his work out.”

Among those attending the presentation at the school were Tiernon’s proud parents, James and Joeleen, his grandmum Tracey McMullan and his nurse Isobel.

Also present were the school principal Geoff Dunn, Tiernon’s teacher Lynne Anderson and class assistant Jane McCafferty.




Aviva Award for "CHRIS"

Aviva Award for CHRIS

Phil Bayles, Maurice Tulloch, Geraldine, Sandra, Gerry & Will Greenwood

We were delighted to have recently attended the Aviva Broker Community Fund Awards in The HAC Headquarters in London along with 23 other UK winners. It was also great that our Committee Member Sandra Curran was able to join us. Aviva had asked their brokers to nominate a local charity/project and we were nominated by Paul Hatty of J Hatty & Co, Bangor. We were in the final six in our category “Supporting Health & Disability for Children”. This was wonderful recognition for the charity and our sincere thanks to Paul for his support. Our thanks also to Aviva for choosing us to be part of this very special event, hosted by their Community Fund Ambassador Will Greenwood, former England Rugby World Cup Winner and British Lion, who presented us with a tremendous cheque for £2,000.

Before each presentation video footage was shown of the work of each charity. It was very emotional for us to see a photo of Christopher, together with some of the young people we have helped, finishing with a video of a young boy walking in an Upsee. Once again we thank our volunteers and everyone who has supported the charity, as without this support none of this would have been possible.

Aviva Award for CHRIS

Broker Award

Aviva Award for CHRIS

Awards Programme

Aviva Award for CHRIS

Gerry, Will Greenwood, Sandra, Geraldine


To see a short video of the ceremony please visit:

Aviva - 2014 Community Fund Winners/



More Positive News On A Treatment For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

More Positive News On A Treatment For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

It is great to see further progress in finding a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Scientists in Japan and the USA have used Genome surgery to repair a mutation in stem cells of a person with Duchenne. The repaired cell produced the Dystrophin protein missing in people with Duchenne. Marita Pohlschmidt, director of research at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said: “This technique has the potential to repair the genetic defect in a way that allows a fully functional protein to be made. It has the potential to develop into a treatment with a long-lasting effect, meaning children and young people may not need to be given regular treatment. However, further work and safety-testing is needed before this technology can be taken into clinical trials."

As a charity we are pleased to support Duchenne research through the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and it is great to see MDC is currently funding research into genome surgery in Professor Dickson’s laboratory in Royal Holloway (University of London).

For further information please visit:

Muscular Dystrophy - Genome surgery tested in stem cells
The Guardian - Muscular dystrophy experts on brink of therapy breakthrough




Harvey’s Wheelchair Featuring Fireman Sam And Naughty Norman Price

Harvey’s Wheelchair Featuring Fireman Sam And Naughty Norman Price

We were really pleased to have recently purchased a new customised Sorg Kika wheelchair for Harvey McClelland. Harvey is aged 5, lives in Bangor and has Cerebral Palsy. He needed a new wheelchair as his previous chair, which was second hand, was no longer suitable for him. His new wheelchair has a tilt-in-space and also large lightweight wheels to help encourage Harvey to self propel. The NHS could have provided a wheelchair with either a tilt or large wheels but not one with both of these. Harvey is a big fan of Fireman Sam and especially the naughty Norman Price so we were really pleased to also have them feature on his spoke guards. Best wishes Harvey.

His mum Lisa said "The chair is amazing!! Harvey loves it and we are so excited. It is going to be fantastic for me and it is going to make such a difference."





Good News From The Charity Commission NI

Good News From The Charity Commission NI

In 2008 as there was no Charity Commission in N. Ireland we were approved as a Registered Charity by HMRC. The Commission is now set up in NI and we were contacted to complete their application process. We are really pleased to say we have now been approved as a registered charity by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and they advised that the date of registration was the 8th September 2014 which can be found on their website. Many of our supporters may not realise that Christopher passed away on the 8th September 2001 and to then be advised by the Commission that the charity in his name is registered on that same day and month, 13 years later, is very special for us.

To view please visit:

The register for Charities in Northern Ireland - The Christopher McCollum Fund



Katie Loves Her Hudson Chair

Katie Loves Her Hudson Chair

We were really pleased to provide an electric Hudson Tilting chair for Katie Campbell who lives in Belfast. Katie is aged 13 and has Quad Cerebral Palsy and uses an electric wheelchair. We know how difficult it is for young people like Katie to get comfortable when out of their wheelchair and especially as they get older and muscles tighten. Katie had a trial in the Hudson and it proved very beneficial for her. The NHS would not provide this for Katie. Her mum Lesley has emailed to say:

"I cannot thank you enough, you have made a little girl’s life more comfortable. Katie was saying the recliner is the best thing to happen to her. She even sits with me at night something she never did before because she was too sore."

Best wishes Katie and we hope to meet you very soon.





Quality For All = Quality Of Life

Quality For All = Quality Of Life

Quality for All Dental Group

Quality For All = Quality Of Life

Geraldine, Gerry, Catherine and Gary Nelson and Nigel (Helping Hand)

We recently had a great day with Quality for All Group of dentists when they presented us with a tremendous cheque for £4,000. Quality for All is a Charitable Trust set up by Gary Nelson of Quality Plan Ltd to which dentists make a monthly contribution to the Trust. Each year they donate £4,000 to each of two charities and it was an honour for us to be chosen this year as one of them. It was also special to share the day with Helping Hand, the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children charity whose work we have admired for many years. Our sincere thanks to all the dentists and especially to Gary Nelson for choosing us and having the vision to set up Quality for All. It is wonderful to see a group of dentists supporting charities in this way. There is no doubt that Quality for All help improve Quality of Life.





Louise Runs And Raises £576 For "Chris"

Louise Runs And Raises £576 For Chris Louise Runs And Raises £576 For Chris

Christopher’s Cousin Louise completed the recent Belfast City Half Marathon and even more so raised an unbelievable £576. Just fantastic Louise. Thanks to you for wanting to do the race for the charity and to everyone who has supported you. It was also very special for us as this was just nine days before Christopher’s 30th birthday on the 23rd September and has helped make September a special month in 2014.

Thanks again Louise and well done.





"For Christopher" – 23 September 2014

For Christopher – 23 September 2014

Christopher would have been 30 on the 23rd September 2014. We felt a good way to think of him at this time is to share a recent interview the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign did about us for their Target magazine. Ruth Martin, Editor called the article “For Christopher” as it was his inspiration and spirit which not only inspires us but everyone who supports The Christopher McCollum Fund. To read this please visit the following link:

Read the full article here



Pleased To Support Matthew

Pleased To Support Matthew

We were really pleased to be able to help secure a new sports wheelchair for Matthew Davis from Carrowdore. Matthew is now 17 but just over two years ago he was diagnosed with Transverse Myletitis and now uses a wheelchair. Matthew was introduced to wheelchair basketball which not only did he enjoy playing --- he is proving to be very good at it. His parents decided to fundraise to get him a new sports wheelchair as the one he was using was 12 years old. We were asked if we could help fund the final amount. We were delighted to do this and hope to meet Matthew soon. The above photo is of Matthew training two weeks ago before he took his new wheelchair to the Sainsbury’s Games in Manchester as he was selected for the N. Ireland Under 19 Wheelchair Basketball Team. A lovely story.





Cousin Louise Runs For 'CHRIS'

Cousin Louise Runs For CHRIS

We are delighted to say that Christopher’s cousin Louise is running in the Belfast City Half Marathon on the 14th September for our charity. The above picture is of Christopher and Louise in his room around 1996/97. As everyone knows Christopher was a massive Man United fan. Their nickname is the "Red Devils" and so Louise drew the above picture for Christopher’s room. Louise is now a Graphic Designer, worked for some time in Dubai but is now back in Belfast. It is great to see Louise supporting the charity this way, 9 days before what would have been Christopher’s 30th birthday. We hope all the wider family circle, friends and supporters will support her. To make a donation please visit:

Just Giving - Louise's Belfast City Half Marathon page

Good luck Louise




'Chris' buys 117 hours of research

'Chris' buys 117 hours of research 'Chris' buys 117 hours of research

We have recently completed our year in Sainsbury’s and donated £2,109.51 to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund. We are pleased to say that since the Breakthrough Fund was launched in October 2012 we have now donated a total of £4,106.51 from various events. It means so much to us to know this will provide 117 hours of vital research at such a crucial time in the progression to finding treatments or cures for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. MDC have already earmarked the research centres to benefit from the Breakthrough Fund and we are pleased to support this. We thank everyone who has contributed and all our volunteers for giving up their time. For further information please visit:

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign - Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund


Street Collections Are Great

Street Collections Are Great

We held our annual Street Collection in Bangor on Saturday, 9th August. Despite being a few volunteers down we still raised a tremendous £269.59. The Bangor public are just great as many of them engage with you. We were able to raise awareness with them about the issues families can face especially about obtaining the right equipment. One lady from Donaghadee who stopped has already been in contact as she has raised some funds for us. It was also great when so many people said they knew who we were from our year in Sainsbury’s. Thanks again to Jenny McQuitty, Maureen Kenny and Jill Hardy for giving up their time.

Street collections are great!



More Great News - Translarna Approval For Duchenne

Translarna Approval For Duchenne

It is just great to say that following the European Medicines Agency recommendation in May the European Commission has granted conditional approval for the use of Translarna in EU countries. Translarna is the first drug to be approved as a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy caused by the ‘nonsense mutation’ in boys aged five and over who are still walking. The next step is for NICE to approve this in the UK, hopefully within the next 12 months. At an All Party Group meeting in Stormont in June, Dean Sullivan (Director of Commissioning in the Health and Social Care Board in NI) said if NICE did approve Translarna then the drug would be made available in Northern Ireland. Great progress is being made. For further information please visit:

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign - European Commission grants Translarna conditional approval

New 'Upsee' For Lucas

New Upsee For Lucas

We are pleased to say the charity purchased a new "Firefly Upsee" harness for young Lucas McConnell who lives in Bangor. Lucas is four and a half and has Cerebral Palsy. Lucas is unable to stand or walk unaided. The Upsee is a new harness mobility aid that lets children with motor impairment stand and walk with the help of an adult. While we do not have a photo of Lucas at this time his mum sent a text to say "he enjoys it and he has kicked a football to his sister" which is fantastic. You may have seen the Upsee earlier this year in the media as it is designed here in Northern Ireland by Leckey in Lisburn. To learn more about this please visit: www.fireflyfriends.com We really hope this aid gives Lucas the opportunity to participate more in daily activities with his family. We are also pleased to say the charity has just paid deposits on two items of equipment, one being a special customised wheelchair for a young boy in Bangor and the other a customised tilting electric chair for a young girl in Belfast. It will take six weeks for both to arrive and more information will follow.



QUIZ NIGHT FOR "CHRIS"

QUIZ NIGHT FOR CHRIS

Geraldine, Paula Galloway, Gerry and Mark Tumilty

QUIZ NIGHT FOR CHRIS

Mark McKelvey, Quiz Master

We would like to thank the Ulster Bank Bangor Branch for holding a Quiz Night in Bangor Football Club to support our charity. It was a really great night and a fantastic £966.12 was raised. Thanks to everyone who attended and especially Paula Galloway for all her hard work in organising the event. Special thanks to Mark McKelvey who conducted the Quiz and also Noel McLarnon for a great comedy routine.
This is the second event Ulster Bank Bangor have held for us in recent months and their support is very much appreciated.

Thanks also to Raymond Porter at Bangor FC.



More Promising News For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

More Promising News For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

It is great for the second week running to see more good news in finding treatments for DMD. Prosensa are to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration to apply for a licence for Drisapersen - a molecular patch for Exon 51 of the Dystrophin gene - in the USA. Prosensa also plan to apply to the European Medicines Agency. We would encourage you to read the link below and especially what Dr Marita Pohischmidt, Director of Research MDC says and on how they look at children today with DMD. Marita has visited Northern Ireland on several occasions --- we have even taken her back to the airport!

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Article

New Dad Ross Completes His 26.2 Miles

New Dad Ross Completes His 26.2 Miles New Dad Ross Completes His 26.2 Miles

It was special for us to be at the Belfast Marathon on the 5th May 2014 and see Ross Moneypenny cross the finishing line after running the full 26.2 miles for our charity. Ross raised a tremendous £327.50. Ross is married to Nadine, a cousin of Christopher’s. Ross never met Christopher so to see him want to support us this way makes it more special especially after just becoming a dad himself on the 31st January 2014 when Charlotte was born – he still kept up his training!

Well done Ross. A magnificent achievement.



Great News For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Great News For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

This is to let everyone know that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will recommend that the drug Ataluren receives conditional approval. The next step is for the European Commission to approve this. The drug was developed to overcome a change in DNA known as a nonsense mutation which causes 10-15% of cases with DMD. Translarna as the drug will be known will be the first ever drug to treat an underlying genetic cause of Duchenne, outside of a clinical trial.

For further information please visit:

Muscular Dystrophy - News Article
Muscular Dystrophy - Translarna FAQ

Tray Bake Day at Ulster Bank

Tray Bake Day at Ulster Bank Tray Bake Day at Ulster Bank

It was very good of the Ulster Bank Bangor to support the charity by holding a Coffee/Tea/Tray Bake Day on the 25th April 2014. We would like to thank the staff and their families who made the tremendous tray bakes and also supplied all the coffee/tea etc. A fantastic £154.21 was collected on the day. We also thank all the customers for their generous donations and also for the tremendous interest they showed in the charity. Our sincere thanks to the staff, Branch Manager Mark Tumilty and especially Paula Galloway Team Leader for all her help in organising this lovely event.



"CHRIS" Supports Harvey and Family

CHRIS Supports Harvey and Family

We were really pleased to support Harvey McClelland and family in providing a special Monitoring System. Harvey is aged four and has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. He also has seizures. The monitor can zoom in on Harvey when he is sleeping and helps show his mum and dad when he is about to have a seizure.This has brought great relief to his mum and dad and allows a more restful night for everyone including Harvey’s sister Melissa. We are very aware if parents get some sleep it can all maintain a quality of life for someone like Harvey.

Harvey's mum Lisa wrote to us to say:

CHRIS Supports Harvey and Family

Support from Trinity Nursery School

Support from Trinity Nursery School

It was lovely to visit Trinity Nursery School in Bangor on the 9th April to receive a fantastic donation of £1,000. The boys and girls did a sponsored nursery rhyme to raise this tremendous sum. It was a special visit meeting the boys and girls who also sang nursery rhymes for us. The charity had bought a PPod seat for Emily Prentice whose sister Charlotte attends Trinity. To receive such a donation after helping Emily makes this extra special and especially also to have Emily there that day. Our thanks to Emily and Charlotte’s parents Emma and Paul for putting the charity forward.


Sincere thanks to all the pupils, parents and staff of Trinity Nursery for their support.



New Dad Ross Running for "CHRIS"

New Dad Ross Running for CHRIS

Ross is running the Belfast Marathon on the 5th May for our charity. Ross’s first baby daughter Charlotte was born on the 31st January 2014. This is Ross’s second marathon and he says "I chose The Christopher McCollum Fund as my charity as my wife Nadine was a close cousin of Christopher's. I recently became a father to a little girl Charlotte and even though having a little one to look after I still find the time to train and build myself ready for the marathon. I hope that by completing this marathon I will achieve a personal goal as well as raising money for a charity that is close to home for my family".

Ross never met Christopher so it is special to see him support the charity this way. We hope all the wider family circle and friends will support him. Please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/ross-moneypenny


Good Luck Ross.



Sarah Supports "CHRIS" With TK Maxx Donation

Sarah Supports

We recently received a cheque for £2,000 from TK Maxx Community Fund in Watford. Sarah Kenny who works in TK Maxx Bangor nominated us as a local charity to the TK Maxx Fund. This was a wonderful gesture by Sarah and we sincerely thank her for this. We understand donations of £50 – £2,000 may then be granted so for us to receive the full amount of £2,000 is not only a tremendous amount but also great recognition for the work of the charity and its supporters.

Sincere thanks Sarah and also to TK Maxx Watford.


Sarah Supports CHRIS With TK Maxx Donation

CHRIS Supports Jessica

CHRIS Supports Jessica

We are pleased to say the charity recently provided a special PPod seat for Jessica Henderson. Jessica is aged two and a half and lives in Newtownards. Jessica has Cerebral Palsy and is unable to sit upright unsupported as well limited sight and speech. It was a privilege to spend time with Jessica, her brother Josh and her wonderful parents Donna and Colin. Jessica deserves to get as much support as possible to improve her quality of life. The NHS was not willing to provide this special equipment item. Donna and Colin are happy for us to share their thoughts on all that the seat brings not just to Jessica’s life but also to them as a family. Please read Donna’s email the day the seat arrived and one two weeks later. Our thanks to everyone who supports The Christopher McCollum Fund and making this possible for Jessica.

CHRIS Supports Jessica
CHRIS Supports Jessica
CHRIS Supports Jessica



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