Surfers Back Downpatrick QUB Student Megan Starkey

QUB Suf Club supports Downpatrick student who suffered from blood cancer

“You’re not alone Megan”: QUB students surf over finish line at Belfast Marathon for blood cancer research

Inspired by their Downpatrick classmate, a group of students from the Queen’s University Surf Club completed the Belfast Marathon Relay in style raise funds for the fight against blood cancer in Northern Ireland.

Megan Starkey from Downpatrick was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in December 2023 at just 21.

A group of the Queen’s University student friends then took it upon themselves to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI (LLNI) as a show of their unwavering support to Megan.

The five-strong team, hailing from locations all over the NI, completed the relay at the Belfast City Marathon in a combined time of 4:04:21.

And they raisined more than £2500 in the process for the charity.

LLNI is the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated solely to funding blood cancer research.  

In 2024, the charity celebrates 60 years of vital research focussed on improving outcomes for patients receiving treatment for Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma.

Megan Starkey (back centre) from Downpatrick with QUB Surf Club’s Marathon Relay team Tom Campbell, Evie O’Kane, Matt Duffy, Eugene Scallion and Aoife Devlin.

Marathon group organiser Aoife Devlin said: “When Megan received her diagnosis it was a very concerning time.

“It has been hard to see her having to take time out from her studies whilst she undergoes treatment. However, Megan’s positive outlook has been a true source of inspiration to us all.”

“Megan serves on the committee of the QUB Surf Club and a group of members, including myself, decided to get together and do something to show Megan we are all here to support her.

“We also wanted to make sure we raised funds to support people in Northern Ireland who find themselves in similar circumstances.

“That is how we discovered LLNI, who are carrying such important work funding research and clinical trials.”

The Chair of LLNI, Richard Buchanan, said: “Every day three people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with Blood Cancer, just like Megan.

“The results from the research LLNI has funded throughout its 60-year history shows that the money donated in NI makes a real difference to those living with one or more of this terrible group of diseases.

“We have a world-class facility in the Patrick G Johnston Cancer Centre at Queen’s, which is part of a network of research institutions spread across the globe dedicated to the fight against blood cancer.

“We are extremely grateful to this group of fundraisers for the sum raised, as without donations such as these, the work LLNI does would grind to a halt.

“We hope others can take inspiration from the members of the QUB Surf Club and Megan herself and help us in this vital cause.”

To find out more about the work of Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI and offer a donation, visit;