19 SEP 2018
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Thousands of schools sign up for Ellen’s journey

12 September 2018 - by By Brian Hyland

Thousands of school children and over 30 schools have signed up to a new campaign to help fundraise for Bessbrook toddler Ellen Treanor.

Ellen’s fundraising team has been busy visiting schools across the Newry and surrounding area in the last fortnight to speak to the pupils about Ellen’s condition and how they can help through two fun initiatives.

Ellen started an intense three-week course of radiotherapy at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children yesterday (Tuesday), which will be followed by months of anti-body treatment.

Once treatment is over, her family want to fly Ellen to America for specialist treatment aimed at ensuring that the high-risk cancer - neuroblastoma - doesn’t return.

Since a huge fundraising campaign kicked off in July, an astonishing £142,000 has been raised.

However, it still falls well short of the final amount required for the treatment in the US.

Now over 30 schools have pledged to help by signing up to ‘adopt Ellen’ for the school term September to December.

Pupils at the schools will take part in a dress-up day or non-uniform day before the Hallowe’en break, followed by a huge sponsored walk in Newry on December 9.

Ellen’s Journey fundraising committee member, Anne-Marie Campbell, said she and the team have been overwhelmed by the support from local schools.

And she hailed the support from St Patrick’s PS Newry principal Ciaran Mackin for getting so many schools involved.

“The feedback from the schools has been very, very positive,” Anne-Marie told the Reporter. 

“Lots of the children already know who Ellen is and they want to help her. There’s a real innocence there and a genuine love for Ellen from the children.”

Anne-Marie supplied each school with a fundraising pack detailing Ellen’s journey and the condition she is battling.

It also provides fundraising ideas, details of the two forthcoming fundraisers and an official Ellen adoption certificate.

“Schools are free to do their own fundraising,” said Anne-Marie. 

“And to make it easier we have also provided them with details on the fancy-dress day/non-uniform day before Hallowe’en then the big push will be a sponsored walk on December 9 in Newry’s Greenbank Industrial Estate.

“We have visited over 30 schools who have all come on board with a big thumbs up. They are all really excited about the fundraising and campaign.”

She added: “Pivotal to the success of this has been Ciaran Mackin from St Patrick’s PS in Newry. He has been the leader in implementing this and approaching the schools and has been fantastic.”

Any schools, crèches, community organisations or businesses that also want to get involved can contact the fundraising team through Ellen’s Facebook page ‘Ellen’s Journey’.

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