Lauren Gets A “Lift” from the GCT

Lauren says thank-you to the GCT Community festival
19th October 2007

Last night some of the lads from the Glentoran Community Trust met Lauren along with her two sisters Sara and Rachel. Lauren was born a Glentoran supporter, she was also born with Pallister-Killian syndrome (PKS).

PKS is a rare chromosomal condition. We are led to believe that Lauren was the first child to be diagnosed with the condition in Northern Ireland. It means in a very small nutshell that Lauren has a profound learning and physical disability.

In the short time that we spent with Lauren and her family though it was apparent to all of us that Lauren lives in one of the happiest home environments we have experienced. She is smothered with love and affection by her sisters and her mum and dad. When we first decided to host the Glentoran Community Trust Festival one of the main objectives of the project was for the Trust membership to be able to do something good and something positive with some of the funds we raised through the event. Last night (Thursday) we were able to do just that on behalf of our fellow Glentoran supporters within the membership of the GCT.

Lauren leads a full life, and is included in all the activities her family partake in. She is a pupil of Torbank School in Dundonald, and amongst other things attends Sunday school with her sisters in Donaghadee. Anyone who has a ten year-old knows how quickly kids sprout up when they are that age, but as a result Lauren needs a certain amount of equipment and modifications around the home to help with the everyday requirements of an amazing youngster.

Lauren’s parents would never ask for anything, in fact it has taken an inordinate amount of persuasion from the GCT membership to encourage them to accept a gift to Lauren on behalf of the Glentoran Community Trust. Mum and dad are extremely private individuals who put their heart and soul into their family. Having met all the kids last night you can only conclude that it has certainly paid dividends.

Lauren as she has grown older now requires a winch to help her access the family car, this in turn allows Lauren the freedom to do in essence whatever the rest of the family do. Without it there is a huge physical demand on her parents. Activities are in turn restricted. Last night the membership of the Glentoran Community Trust through funds raised by the 125th Festival was able to provide Lauren and her family with that winch.

Last night was easily the best thing that any of the membership of the GCT has involved ourselves in. Lauren and her family are both delighted and moved with the gift as it will make a huge difference to everyday life for a very special little girl.

You may not know Lauren. You may not know her mum Janice. You might just know sisters Sara and Rachel, but we’d be very surprised indeed if you don’t know Lauren’s dad …   Tommy “Tucker” McKee.

Back in 1996 big Tommy first floated the idea of a “Halfers” draw at the Oval. Tommy’s character, openness and transparency have made the concept the huge success it has proved to be today. Ten years on and Tommy McKee’s Halfer’s draw is rapidly approaching the staggering figure of £100,000 raised on behalf of Glentoran Football Club. Glentoran supporters could never begin to repay Tucker for the effort he has placed into raising this huge amount of money, but with this gift to Lauren through the Trust we can at least thank him for a Herculean effort over the last decade, while at the same time help a wonderful little girl enjoy the many pleasures in life the rest of us take for granted.

Our love and best wishes go to Tommy, Janice and the girls on behalf of everyone in the Glentoran Community Trust.