Carrick support as ‘TeamAcko’ raises over £10k

Member's of Les McKee's family after completing the 5k walk in Carrickfergus on Sunday.  INCT 38-741-CON
Member's of Les McKee's family after completing the 5k walk in Carrickfergus on Sunday. INCT 38-741-CON

A Carrick family have donned their running shoes in support of a couple whose plans of starting a new life were put on hold after a cancer diagnosis.

Les McKee, who is originally from Carrickfergus, was all set to relocate to Ibiza with his partner Louise Atkinson.

Les McKee and Louise Atkinson.  INCT 38-726-CON

Les McKee and Louise Atkinson. INCT 38-726-CON

The Liverpool-based couple had given notice to their employer and landlord, booked flights, and saved money ahead of the move to their dream home in the sun.

But in June, just weeks before they were to board the plane, Louise received the devastating news that she had breast cancer and needed to start chemotherapy straight away.

Despite the shock, the couple made the decision to get their lives back on track by participating in the Scouse5K on Sunday (September 18).

The run raised funds for the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, where Louise is being treated.

Pictured with Les and Louise are Amy Rowson, Rachael Collin, Darren Farley, Helga Welbourn, James Sutton, and Lee Siemazsko.  INCT 38-738-CON

Pictured with Les and Louise are Amy Rowson, Rachael Collin, Darren Farley, Helga Welbourn, James Sutton, and Lee Siemazsko. INCT 38-738-CON

And Les, a life long Carrick Rangers and Liverpool fan, held to his pledge to complete the route wearing an Everton top after the fundraising target of £10,000 was reached.

Meanwhile, their determination triggered a wave of support this side of the Irish Sea, with members of Les’s family doing their bit for the appeal dubbed ‘TeamAcko’.

Speaking to the Times last week, Les said: “We have over 100 taking part in the Scouse 5k to raise money for Clatterbridge.

“At the same time, members of my family will be doing a 5k around Carrick, and our friends Caroline and Philip Mone will be running the Belfast Half Marathon.”

Caroline and Philip Mone took on the Belfast Half Marathon for #TeamAcko.  INCT 38-740-CON

Caroline and Philip Mone took on the Belfast Half Marathon for #TeamAcko. INCT 38-740-CON

Adding an international dimension to the appeal were friends of the couple, Carrick locals Thomas Ogilvie and Danni Spence, who are to be married in Cyprus today (Monday).

Members of the bridal party took on a fundraising run on the Mediterranean island on Sunday, while one of Les’s friends in Australia also pledged run a further 5k for the couple.

Praising the “overwhelming” response to the TeamAcko appeal, Les added: “I think the support has helped Louise a lot.

“She’s had three rounds of chemo, and given how run down it leaves you, I think it’s pretty impressive that she’s doing a 5k.”

Taking part in the Cyprus run were Ryan Tinsley, Clare Davison, Jennifer Scallon and Steven Scallon, all from Carrickfergus.  INCT 38-736-CON

Taking part in the Cyprus run were Ryan Tinsley, Clare Davison, Jennifer Scallon and Steven Scallon, all from Carrickfergus. INCT 38-736-CON

Donations can still be made online at www.justgiving.com/Teamacko

A sponsorship form is also available at the Royal Oak Bar in Carrick.

Taking part in the Liverpool run were (left to right) Paul Carvill from Belfast, along with Michael Quinn and Craig Bowden, both from Carrickfergus.  INCT 38-737-CON

Taking part in the Liverpool run were (left to right) Paul Carvill from Belfast, along with Michael Quinn and Craig Bowden, both from Carrickfergus. INCT 38-737-CON