Over 60 EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA retailers from across Northern Ireland have marked Cancer Fund for Children’s first ever £1 million milestone with a corporate partner with the opening of a special garden in Newcastle, County Down.

The Fairy Garden was unveiled at the charity’s Daisy Lodge therapeutic centre during a celebration event to mark the magnificent milestone, by The McCandless Family who backed the campaign. 

Wendy McCandless, whose daughter Maisie May was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour at just eight months old said; “Cancer Fund for Children provided the most essential support for us when Maisie was going through treatment, as well as providing little experiences for her which made life seem normal for a minute when it was far from it, including trips to Daisy Lodge. 

“We’re honoured to have unveiled the Fairy Garden today and have been part of EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA’s Make it to £1 Million Campaign as we know the value of every penny that goes into the charity.” 

Gail Boyd who owns Creighton’s EUROSPAR of Finaghy on Belfast’s Lisburn Road spoke on behalf of the retailers at the event, drawing on her own experience which truly motivated the fundraising over the years. 

Gail added; “Our supermarket has raised over £300,000 for Cancer Fund for Children during the nine-year partnership, however our family never thought it would resonate so personally with us until our Grandson Teddy was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in December 2011, and passed away just nine months later. 

“We’re very proud to have been here today and to continue to be part of the partnership for a charity that we know makes a huge difference in the lives of families living with cancer in Northern Ireland.” 

Cancer Fund for Children has been partnered with EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA supermarkets since May 2011, and over the past nine years staff members have completed treks, created baking recipe books, held in-store events and fun days, and hosted Community Coffee Mornings, which has become the biggest partnership event for the charity, raising £160,000 alone. 

To put the figure into tangible terms, since 2011 £1,000,000 could’ve provided over 1,000 families (or 5,000 individual family members) with a therapeutic short break to Daisy Lodge or provided 555 families (or 2,775 individual family members) with support from a Community Specialist in the family home to help alleviate isolation and fear. 

The Fairy Garden not only adds a little extra magic to Daisy Lodge but will provide the charity’s Cancer Support Specialists with an abundance of wonderful activities to feed into their plans with families during their stays. Cancer Fund for Children want to help focus young people’s minds and restore their energy so that ultimately they feel better equipped to deal with the emotional impact cancer has on their young lives. 

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing added; “We are lucky to have some of the most passionate retailers in the business who have given up their own time to give so much to Cancer Fund for Children since the partnership began. 

“Some of our retailers have had a team on every fundraising trek around the world, taking the challenge head on for the charity. £1,000,000 is an incredible amount of money and we’re proud that it has and will continue to make an enormous difference in the lives of children, young people and their families living with cancer here in Northern Ireland. 

“We now have a legacy right here in the gardens of Daisy Lodge to mark the achievement and we hope it brings a space where families can forget about the real world for five minutes, get some fresh air and gain some calm.” 

The retailer began its partnership with Cancer Fund for Children in 2011, and after launching a baking recipe book and participating in team challenges from the Great Wall of China trek to volunteering at Daisy Lodge, £500,000 was raised by 2016. 

In 2017, the first ever Community Coffee Morning took place and in the same year, the £750,000 milestone was met. 

After two more Community Coffee Mornings, several treks, bog runs and community fundraising, the partnership made it to £1 million. 

Phil Alexander, CEO of Cancer Fund for Children added; “I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks for all fundraising and donations over the years from the EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA retailers, and for donating the Fairy Garden to our Daisy Lodge facilities. 

“It was a pleasure to be able to meet the retailers at our celebration event and thank them personally for their continued passion in our organisation. It is a very important partnership and I look forward to seeing where it takes us in the future.”