East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has sent out an open invitation to a galaxy far, far away as he puts his support behind a campaign to fund a three-year-old’s pioneering cancer treatment.
A special screening of the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One, has been organised by Mr Robinson to help raise the £134,000 necessary to send Zak Brennan to the US for Neuroblastoma treatment.
Just over a year ago, Zak was given the devastating blow that he had a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Thanks to the generosity of the people of east Belfast and the surrounding communities, the Dundonald family has already raised over £110,000 with help along the way from the Northern Ireland Football team, Carl Frampton and Alan Carr who all have played their part in supporting the cause.
Zak has already endured cycles of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants and radiotherapy however to give him any chance of a permanent cure, Zak must travel to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan where he has been selected to take part in a radical new clinical trial.
Having seen Zak’s plight on social media, Mr Robinson was determined to help. He said: “Christmas is traditionally a time for giving, so I’m urging the people of east Belfast, who are known for their incredible generosity, to dig deep and give little Zakky the gift that he so desperately needs.
“Every penny raised from the movie night will go directly to the fund and I’d like to thank the Strand Arts Centre for hosting, the Park Avenue Hotel for sponsoring the drinks reception and Food Stories in Crawfordsburn for generously donating all of the refreshments.
“I would strongly encourage as many people as possible to come along for a great evening of entertainment and to let the Brennan family know that the ‘force’ of the people of east Belfast is most definitely with them.”
Commenting on the support their son has received, Zak’s dad Gareth said: “We as a family have been blown away by the enormous support we have been given from individuals, local business and sports stars.
“Not only has your financial help brought us closer to reaching our target, but knowing that we have so many people behind us has been a massive boost to our family and lifted our spirits on our toughest days.
“The care Zakky has received here in Belfast has been truly outstanding but for him to have any real chance of beating this aggressive disease, we need to get him to the states as quickly as possible. Zakky has had a truly awful year but he is such a fighter and never gives up so we, as his parents are determined to do everything we can to get him there. If we reach our target, we hope to travel to Michigan at the beginning of January with Zak commencing his treatment right away.”
Tickets for the movie night on Tuesday December 20 are priced at £12 for adults and £8 for children and can be purchased from the box office at the Strand Arts Centre orwww.strandartscentre.com
A drinks reception sponsored by the Park Avenue Hotel will take place before the screening at 6.30pm.