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Family ‘overwhelmed’ as fundraising total nears £100K

Gemma McHale.

The family of Aghyaran woman Gemma McHale have said they have been overwhelmed by the £22,062 raised through their latest fundraising efforts.
 
Almost £100,000 has now been raised by the Gemma McHale Foundation since the 20-year-old died in a tragic road incident in May 2012.
 
The now annual 5K run and cycle took place during May in her native Aghyaran.
 
The funds raised have been split between a series of local charities close to the hearts of Gemma’s parents Kieran and Siobhan and her sister Joanne.
 
Among the beneficiaries this year were Chest, Heart and Stroke; NI Cancer Fund for children; Castlederg Community and Terminally Ill Fund; along with a series of local good causes.
 
The funds will also help continue the work of the mindfulness programme set up in Gemma’s memory. Some seven local primary schools have already benefited.

Among those who received donations from the Gemma McHale Foundation were Frankie and Margaret Quinn who were presented with funds for their work with the Down’s Syndrome Association.

 
Reacting to the latest fundraising drive, the McHale family said, “The tremendous turnout of between 700-800 people who passed through the centre doors at both the cycle and run events speaks volumes of the community spirit in the Aghyaran/Castlederg areas and much further afield.
 
“It is that same spirit and support that helps us cope in some small way with the devastating loss of our precious child Gemma.
 
“Gemma loved helping others and her love of children encourages us to reach out to children.”

Left, Rachel McHugh, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis accepts a donation from Kieran and Siobhan McHale.

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The family have said they are deeply indebted to all those who donated funds, offered sponsorship and who helped make the 2017 events possible.
 
“As it would be impossible to mention every individual we hope that you will accept our sincere thanks and gratitude for making us a very proud family on the night of the run in memory of our wee Angel Gemma,” said the family.
 
“There are no adequate words to express our appreciation of the support you have given us since May 18, 2012.”
 
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