A charity ball raised over £57,000 for two worth Scottish charities and inspired rally driver support.
Organised by Leanne Mongahan, The Advent Ball at Springwood Hall in Kelso raised over £57,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and The Difference, the Borders’ Macmillan Cancer Centre.
Around 560 people attended the event in December 2018 with tickets being sold within 24 hours of them going on sale with support provided by over 50 businesses including headline sponsors NFU Mutual Newtown St Boswells, Maxwell Motors Ford, and Simpson’s Malt.
The event also inspired one of Scotland’s leading rally car drivers, Garry Pearson to help raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. With his sights set on becoming the 2019 Scottish Rally Champion, Garry recently unveiled his car for the forthcoming season, featuring Pancreatic Cancer Scotland logos.
Leanne’s fundraising drive has been in honour of her mum who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2016, aged 58, just 8 months after diagnosis and tragically just a couple of months before Leanne had her first child.
Like so many people, their family had barely heard of pancreatic cancer. When raising awareness of her fundraising, Leanne often spoke of the awful moment she searched online for ‘survival rates of pancreatic cancer’ and discovered that of all the major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rates and these numbers have barely changed in the last five decades.
When they heard that her mum’s cancer was palliative, it was a moment which changed their world forever.
Leanne said: ‘From the day we found out about the cancer, the Borders Macmillan Centre were a lifeline. They supported Mum and the entire family though an unimaginably tough time. We were amazed at how many ways they could support us.
‘It is tough to admit you need support when it’s not you that has cancer. They ensured I was able to continue as normal knowing I could talk to them at any time.’
Previous fundraising has included Leanne organising a 26 mile walk with more than 90 people taking part, helping raise over £21,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.
With an aim to help change pancreatic cancer statistics and improve the outlook for patients and families, Leanne returned to Springwood Park this week, where she was delighted to handover cheques totalling £57,062.57 to Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and The Difference, and help unveil Garry’s newly branded rally car.
Garry, of Pearsons of Duns, said: ‘I attended The Advent Ball and was inspired to help raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, some of the figures are eye opening and we really need to do more to change them.’
The first round of The Scottish Rally Championship was unfortunately cancelled due to weather, so the first event that Garry’s car will compete is on 16 March in Jedburgh.
Dionne Denovan, supporter relations co-ordinator for Pancreatic Cancer Scotland said: ‘Leanne’s enthusiasm and dedication to her fundraising was incredible. Throughout the whole process she was a force of nature. By working together with passionate people like Leanne and Garry we are able to spread awareness of the symptoms and work towards changing the outcome for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.’
Brian Renwick, fundraising officer for The Difference said: ‘Leanne has done an amazing job for causes that are so dear to her, her donation will make such a difference to people throughout the Scottish Borders who use the Borders Macmillan Centre and the many services it provides.’
Pancreatic Cancer Scotland was formed in 2010 by a group of patients, carers, nurses and doctors in Scotland to share hope, knowledge and action in the battle against pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer Scotland is dedicated to the people of Scotland whose lives have been touched by pancreatic cancer and associated tumours.
To find out how more visit www.pancanscot.org.
The Difference is NHS Borders official charity. It supports patients in the Borders by providing ‘added extras’ that are over and above that which is provided by the NHS. The Difference funds equipment, training, patient comforts, and improvements to patient and staff environment.