Daniel O’Donnell Supports Cancer Focus Breast Cancer Research

IRISH singer Daniel O’Donnell has shown his support for a local charity’s breast cancer research fundraiser following his wife’s own recent diagnosis.

As part of breast cancer awareness month, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is asking women across the country to have ‘A Girls’ Night In’ in October to raise funds for pioneering breast cancer research at Queen’s University Belfast.

Mr O’Donnell said: “Following the diagnosis of my own wife’s breast cancer, the severity and reach of the disease has really hit home for me. Majella is starting her follow up chemotherapy treatment soon and thankfully her prognosis is good.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that without the amazing research that has already been carried out into breast cancer, Majella’s experience may not have been as positive as it has been.  That’s why I’m encouraging all women across Northern Ireland to get together for a ‘Girls’ Night In’ in aid of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

“Whether it’s a dinner party, a pamper evening or maybe a Daniel O’Donnell karaoke night, I would urge you all to support this great cause and get together for a good night in.”

Cancer Focus, the new name for Ulster Cancer Foundation, promotes and supports internationally competitive, high quality research into the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer.  Currently the charity is funding a research fellowship at Queen’s University, Belfast that is focusing on the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Roisin Foster, Cancer Focus Chief Executive, said: “Research is an extremely important element of what we do.  Each year we invest £300,000 – £400,000 in cancer research to help identify the causes of cancer and discover improved methods of diagnosis and treatment. Many cancers, previously thought to be incurable, are now being treated successfully as a result of scientific research.  The research Cancer Focus is funding has the potential to make an enormous difference to the lives of many women but we can’t do it without your support, so please get together for a great Girls’ Night In!”

Leading researcher, Dr Kienan Savage, has been appointed as Research Fellow for Cancer Focus and leads the research team at the university.  Dr Savage has recently identified a number of new cancer genes that appear to be involved in the development of breast and ovarian cancers, and some forms of leukemia.

“These cancers often arise due to damage to genes within our DNA, known as ‘gatekeeper’ genes. The genes control how often cells divide, allowing cells to grow out of control forming a tumour,” Dr Savage said.

“The new cancer genes which have been discovered appear to play a role in repairing damage to DNA and thereby aid the repair of damaged ‘gatekeeper’ genes, helping to prevent cancer.

“My research will add significantly to our understanding of how these genes work to prevent the development of cancer. It may also lead to the development of new quick and effective tests to help decide which treatments specific cancer patients will benefit from, and may help to identify new proteins that could be targeted for future therapies.

“It’s fantastic to get this opportunity to develop my own independent research which could potentially be hugely significant for cancer patients,” he said.

To find out more information about how to get involved in a ‘Girls’ Night In’ or to request your Think Pink party pack contact the Think Pink team at Cancer Focus on 028 9066 3281 or fundraising@cancerfocusni.org