An inspirational cancer survivor from Kildress has been presented with an award at a glittering ceremony in London three years to the day after a lifechanging stem cell transplant.
Ailis Corey, who battled not only Hodgkin Lymphoma but the Northern Ireland health authorities in her bid to have a drug available in other parts of the UK made available to patients here, received stem cells from her sister Brenda, who was with her on Wednesday night when she picked up the Beacons of Hope award from the Lymphoma Association.
Describing the event as “amazing, inspirational, emotional and uplifting”, Ailis told the TIMES:
“To be one of those 30 recipients was massively overwhelming and an absolute honour and I thank the very thoughtful and kind person who nominated me for the award as it was such a wonderful, memorable and special experience to be part of.
“Wednesday was exactly three years since my stemcell transplant, so the wee trip to London was a brilliant way to celebrate my third ‘rebirthday’ and to mark how far I have come since 2012. And it was really lovely to have Brenda there with me, as her magic cells are a big, big part of the reason as to why I am doing so well now! Thank you forever Brenda!”
Ailis was presented with her award by former BBC newsreader Alice Arnold, and urged anyone suffering ill health or caring for someone who is unwell, to “please keep hoping, keep going, keep smiling and please please never give up”.
Jonathan Pearce, chief executive of the Lymphoma Association, meanwhile, paid tribute to Ailis, saying:
“We were delighted to be able to present Ailis with a Beacons of Hope Award. The Beacons of Hope Awards are a chance for us to say thank you and to celebrate the achievements of people like Ailis who make a real difference.”