Northern Ireland news

'Do-nut' give up hope father tells families awaiting donors

Sean Smyth with his daughter Eimear

THE father of a young west Belfast woman who died after battling blood cancer has launched a 'Donuts for Donors' appeal aimed at encouraging people to talk about stem cell donation.

Sean Smyth said he wants to "give other families hope" following the death of his daughter Eimear Gooderham (25) last year.

Yesterday, he joined Belfast lord mayor Daniel Baker to appeal to people to hold a donut and coffee morning on January 31 to raise funds and awareness of stem cell donation.

"What we want is for people to sit down and have a coffee and a donut and talk about stem cell research and becoming a donor," said Mr Smyth.

The 'Eimear’s Wish' campaign was established in 2019 following Eimear's death after a battle with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

After a lengthy search for a suitable stem cell donor, she received a transplant in November 2018, but sadly died in June following complications.

Sean Smyth with his daughter Eimear

She believed passionately in the importance of raising awareness of stem cell donation and to honour her legacy her family established the 'Eimear’s Wish' campaign to continue her work.

Next Friday, donut company Taboo are making 500 limited edition 'Eimear’s Wish' donuts with profits raised divided between three charities, Anthony Nolan, Action Cancer and Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Belfast City Hall will also be illuminated on January 31 in support of the campaign.

"I want this to be an annual event, the last Friday every January dedicated to stem cell donor awareness," said Mr Smyth.

"Eimear loved donuts, she used to cut them in four so everyone could try a bit.

Belfast Mayor Danny Baker joined by Sean Smyth and Lili Vette, Anthony Nolan Trust, Brett McKinney, Taboo Donuts, Leigh Osborne from Action Cancer to launch Donuts for Donors at the City Hall. Picture by Mal McCann

"What we want is for people to sit down, have a coffee and a donut and talk about stem cell research and becoming a donor.

"We thought the 'Donuts for Donors' appeal would be something quirky and fun and would get people talking.

"It's about promoting stem cell and organ donation, we want to give other families hope."

Mr Baker said he hoped it would help "shine a spotlight on the important topic of stem cell donation and organ donation generally".

"The team at Eimear’s Wish have worked tirelessly to keep the spirit of Eimear alive and continue her great work by making stem cell donation an important topic of conversation," he said.

Eimear was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in September 2016

"On Friday 31 January I will be hosting a special coffee morning in the parlour for people and families affected by stem cell transplants and I’m calling on everyone across the city to follow suit and get involved for this great cause."

For further information, visit Eimear's Search on Facebook and Twitter.

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