Fantastic sum of £20k raised in Esme’s memory

Claire Hudson, Direct Marketing Officer for Cancer Focus N.I. receives a cheque for �2917.50 for the Esme Marie McManus Forget Me Not Fund from Debi Fekkes and Sharon Loughlin. Debi and Sharon took part in a Roller Boot challenge to raise the money. INLT 22-331-PR

Claire Hudson, Direct Marketing Officer for Cancer Focus N.I. receives a cheque for �2917.50 for the Esme Marie McManus Forget Me Not Fund from Debi Fekkes and Sharon Loughlin. Debi and Sharon took part in a Roller Boot challenge to raise the money. INLT 22-331-PR

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Over 50 people took part in a sponsored fun run earlier this month in memory of a Larne woman who lost her life to cancer.

Organised by local hairdressers Sharon Loughlin and Debi Fekkes, the event saw runners and walkers complete a 13-mile route.

The trek was inspired by Sharon and Debbie’s friend Esme Marie McManus, who died in 2001 from a brain tumour at just 28 years of age.

In the wake of her death, Esme’s friend and family set up a Forget Me Not Fund in her memory, which has so far secured the fantastic sum of about £17,000 for Cancer Focus NI.

And with the £3,000 raised at the recent event, that tally has now reached the incredible milestone of £20,000.

Sharon told the Times that she was “amazed” at the support local people had shown and thanked everyone involved for their generous donations.

She added: “I was very surprised by the number of people who turned out to lend their support and help raise much-needed funds for Cancer Focus NI. The amount we raised surpassed all my expectations.

“As well as those who took part, there were also people handing out water at various points along the route.

“And there were hundreds of people at the finish line to welcome us back.”

While the rest of the participants either walked or ran the route, Sharon and Debbie decided to take a slightly different approach.

“To mark what would have been Esme’s 40th birthday, Debi and I decided to do something a bit different,” Sharon said.

“We grew up in the 80s with roller discos and that sort of thing, so we felt it was appropriate to wear roller boots for this challenge; it is something Esme would have appreciated.”

After the event, Sharon and Debi organised a party at Seacourt Community Centre to show their gratitude to everyone who took part.

And despite the success of the fundsraiser, Sharon said it will likely be a one-off event.

“People have been asking me what we have planned for next year, but there was a lot involved in organising this event and I am not sure I could do it all again. But you never know; watch this space,” Sharon concluded.