Game on for a good cause

by Gillian McDade

A TOBERMORE student is on the ball, having organised a charity football match to help raise money for a charity which supports those suffering from Crohn’s and Colitis.

Andrew Mulholland, who is 21-years-old and a student at Queen’s University, Belfast, was diagnosed with Crohn’s when he was aged 15 and a student at Sperrin Integrated College in Magherafelt.

However, Andrew refused to let the symptoms rule his life and he insisted on attending school when he was well enough to do so.

The deputy head boy earned an A and two Bs in his A Levels, testament to his commitment to his studies and his ability to not let the illness get the better of him.

Following a flare-up in January, Andrew has taken the decision to dedicate his free time to helping other people who may find themselves in a similar position and all proceeds raised will go towards Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the working name for the National Association for Crohn’s and Colitis Disease (NACC).

Andrew was diagnosed at the age of 15 when, at 6ft 2” his weight dramatically dropped to an uncharacteristic eight and a half stone.

Despite being bed bound for periods during the illness, he struggled on, keen to make the most of his educational opportunities.

“I was told I should drop out of school, but I refused to - I’m very stubborn and I just wanted to get on with it,” Andrew told the MAIL.

Andrew is studying for a degree in Business and Information Technology at Queen’s and has been living independently in Belfast for the past four years.

After his most recent flare-up, which resulted in Andrew attending A&E, he decided it was time to start fundraising.

“I’m lucky because I have my family, but many people don’t have anyone to rely on to take them to hospital if they get ill,” he said.

The match will be between Magherafelt Olympic and a team known as Colitis and Crohn’s Select and it takes place at Mill-Park, Tobermore on Wednesday, June 12 with a kick-off 6.45pm. There will be a special appearance by goalkeeper Dwayne Nelson.

With the cost of £5 a player and 30 players, it is hoped the charity match will raise at least £150. However, there will also be an opportunity to donate on the day and there will be information stands which will enable people to take away leaflets on Crohn’s and Colitis.

To date, Andrew has raised £1,000 - he recently completed the Belfast City Marathon walk (nine miles) on Monday, May 6 with his friend Helen.

A total of £200 has been donated by Magherafelt Council and £200 has been received from Tobermore Business Development Ltd, in addition to money from friends and family.

If anyone wants to make a donation to this worthy cause, they can contact www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Mulholland1/.

Visit the website for more information on the illness - www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/content/home.asp