Gareth McAuley’s ‘special’ Euro 2016 shirt to raise funds for cancer kids

Gareth McAuley after scoring for Northern Ireland against Ukraine in Euro 2016
Gareth McAuley after scoring for Northern Ireland against Ukraine in Euro 2016

The jersey worn by Gareth McAuley when he provided Northern Ireland’s most euphoric moment of Euro 2016 will be auctioned to raise money for the Cancer Fund for Children.

The Northern Ireland defender has launched a raffle to win the shirt he was wearing in rain-soaked Lyon when he scored the opening goal against Ukraine with a soaring header.

McAuley launched the raffle on a visit to Daisy Lodge, the charity’s therapeutic short break centre, where he and the rest of the Northern Ireland squad saw first-hand the difference residential support makes to the lives of families devastated by a childhood cancer diagnosis.

Following a tour of the facility the players had a meet and greet with families and ran a football skills session with some of the children.

The 36-year-old, who scored his ninth goal for his country on Friday night, said: “I have been lucky in football to have had a lot of great experiences and to have some wonderful memories.

“I wanted to donate the shirt to the Cancer Fund for Children to give something back and to raise as much money as possible for a great cause. The shirt is something that is very special to me, so hopefully it will go to a good place.”

Cancer Fund for Children’s corporate fundraiser, Sorcha Chipperfield, said: “We were beyond thrilled to welcome the Northern Ireland team to Daisy Lodge and to meet some of the families we support. The team has already raised over £50,000 through the donation of match fees and charity collections at the fan zones in Belfast during their matches in France.

“Every week in Northern Ireland another three children, teenagers and young adults are diagnosed with cancer.

As the leading children’s cancer charity in Northern Ireland, Cancer Fund for Children understands the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have on the whole family and that beyond essential medical care there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt.”

The charity offers practical, emotional and financial support as well as free short therapeutic breaks to local families whose lives have been affected by the illness.

Fans can take part in the raffle by visiting www.raffleplayer.com/mcauleyshirt or by visiting www.cancerfundforchildren.com