Hopes ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign will secure future of charity

Dawn McConnell. INCT 12-002-PSB
Dawn McConnell. INCT 12-002-PSB

The founders of Hope House Ireland are aiming to launch a campaign which will secure the future of the Whitehead-based charity.

Founded in 2014 by Dawn and Roy McConnell, Hope House provides accommodation in a peaceful seaside setting for those who are going through a cancer diagnosis, completely free of charge.

Both Dawn and Roy have battled the disease in the past, with Roy diagnosed for a second time after 22 years in remission.

Meanwhile, the charity was still in its early days when Dawn herself was given the news that she had breast cancer.

The couple, who currently rent out the Hope House apartment at Whitehead promenade, are aiming to launch a Buy a Brick campaign in the hopes of purchasing the property.

Despite a swell of fundraising support locally in recent months, there are still a surprising number of people in the Carrick and Whitehead areas who simply do not know about Hope House, said Dawn.

“The ladies’ choir in Whitehead invited me to a fundraising night they were having down at the school, which raised over £1000,” she added.

“There were about 300 people there; most of them would probably have been from the Whitehead area. I decided to find out how many of them had heard about Hope House and only about 20 people raised their hand.”

And Dawn is determined to spread the word about the unique service offered by the organisation.

“I’m thrilled to say our service is making a big difference to local people in the community and others from all over the province who have been using it, especially the terminally ill who are benefiting greatly from return visits,” she said.

“We have been given the chance to purchase the apartment in Whitehead, which is fantastic news as we will be able to make this a permanent service to cancer patients.

“We have been overwhelmed by the help we have received so far from the Carrickfergus community, who we are so thankful to.

“Without their help, we could not do this and we are hoping for their continued support as we start our Buy a Brick campaign.”

The October campaign will coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which Dawn will be taking part in a fundraising walk up Black Mountain in Belfast.

For more information about the charity, visit the website at http://hopehouseireland.org/