TWO Belfast cancer charities which supported the family of the All Ireland winning manager Eamonn Coleman, are to benefit from the proceeds of a book about the legendary GAA character.
Cancer Lifeline in North Belfast and Friends of the Cancer Centre in South Belfast will receive donation from sales of the memoir, ‘The Boys of ’93: Derry’s All Ireland Kings’, written by Eamonn’s niece and former Belfast Media Group journalist and editor, Maria McCourt.
The former Derry All Star, who also managed Armagh, Longford and Cavan as well as a number of clubs across the country, died in 2007 of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
However, notes from a biography on which he had been working with his niece before his death were published as a memoir in 2018 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Oak Leaf county’s only All Ireland win.
Proceeds from the memoir, which recounted the team’s historic win and the controversy surrounding the irrepressible Coleman’s sacking the year after, have also been donated to the Irish Cancer Society.
Cancer Lifeline, which provided counselling support and advice to Eamonn’s sister and Maria’s mother, Mary McCourt following her own cancer diagnosis in early 2018, and Friends of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital where Eamonn was treated, welcomed the donation.
“We have two charity shops which have had to close as a result of Covid-19,” said Cancer Lifeline’s Bryan Irwin.
“The consequence is significantly reduced funds to deliver our vital supports to those who need them. Securing funding is always challenging at the best of times, but this situation is going to pose a huge challenge as we move forward to support our clients post Covid-19.
“We were delighted to be recipients of proceeds from the book, The Boys of ‘93. The funding could not come at a better time as we continue to support cancer patients and their families, and planning for their future needs.”
Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre said the donation was "a wonderful tribute to his memory".
“For 35 years, Friends of the Cancer Centre has been dedicated to making a real and meaningful difference to cancer patients and their families across Northern Ireland.
“The charity is here to enhance the quality of patient care and support and we do this by funding additional nurses, supporting local research and providing practical support, such as financial grants, which help families through a difficult time.
“Friends of the Cancer Centre relies entirely on the generosity of the local community but as a result of coronavirus, we are facing challenging times ahead.
“That is why the support of families like the Coleman’s means so much to us, as it will help us to continue our work and support people when they need it most.
“I would like to thank Eamonn Coleman’s family for their very kind gesture.”