SHONA Mulholland, from Randalstown, is making a very special wish this Christmas as part of the Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Wish Upon A Star appeal.
Shona, who is managing director at John Mulholland Motors, will be dedicating a star to her dad John who sadly passed away in August 2019.
John, who established the well-known car dealership 32 years ago, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2018 and received treatment and care at the Cancer Centre in Belfast.
It was during this time that John, and the family, were supported by a specialist nurse who is funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Sadly John passed away last year but the family, business and customers have proudly been supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre in his memory.
This Christmas, Shona and her family are supporting the charity’s Wish Upon A Star appeal, where for a donation of £10 people can dedicate a very special star with their own personal wish, message or simply the name of a loved one on the charity’s virtual Christmas tree.
As a special Christmas gift, John Mulholland Motors will match donations, helping to support more families affected by cancer across Northern Ireland.
Friends of the Cancer Centre was a charity close to John’s heart and Shona and her family are proudly dedicating their star to him and the nurses who helped the family through a really difficult time.
“I’m proudly supporting the charity’s Wish Upon A Star appeal to celebrate the life of my dad,” said Shona.
“Dad was always a star that shone in our lives and of the lives of everyone that knew him.
“He was so well known as a businessman, a motorsport enthusiast and as a car sales man, but to us he was just dad. He was our world.
“Friends of the Cancer Centre is a charity that was really close to my dad’s heart, and the heart of my family.
“When my dad fell ill, it was the specialist nurses from Friends of the Cancer Centre who really stood by us and helped us along the way.
“When dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer, we were introduced to our specialist nurse, Melanie, on the very first visit with the oncologist.
“From that point on, Melanie was always by our side.”
Friends of the Cancer Centre proudly funds eleven specialist nurses across a range of cancer types, each providing dedicated support to patients.
And that made a decisive difference to her family, said Shona.
“In a year where we have all shown appreciation for our NHS staff and especially nurses, I would like to thank Melanie.
“I will never forget, on New Year’s Eve 2018 we were beside ourselves with worry because dad was admitted to the Cancer Centre and we weren’t sure if he’d got a bed yet.
“At five minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve, Melanie rang me to alleviate all of our fears and let us know that dad had a bed and he was being treated.
“That was just above and beyond.
“Without the charity’s funding we would not have had Melanie, who allayed our fears, answered our questions and was there the entire way through the treatment process.”
This vital care, as well as the other extensive support Friends of the Cancer Centre provides patients across Northern Ireland, inspired John Mulholland Motors to support Friends of the Cancer Centre and over the last two years, the company has raised over £58,000 to support the charity’s work.
And John Mulholland would not have had it any other way.
“My dad lived his life by the motto ‘support those who support you’ and that is why, as a family and as a business, we have been supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre for the past two years,” said Shona.
“We wanted to give back and thank the nurses that cared for my dad and for my family.
“That’s also why we are so proud to support the Wish Upon A Star appeal and I would encourage everyone to join me.”
Shona’s star will join many more special wishes on Friends of the Cancer Centre’s virtual Christmas tree in what has become the charity’s annual appeal.
The money raised from the appeal will go on to support the charity’s vital work, which has been making a difference to local people for 35 years.
During these difficult times, the charity has continued in its work to support patients, who need it now more than ever.
Friends of the Cancer Centre proudly funds 38 additional members of staff, including 11 specialist nurses, who are continuing their vital work caring for patients and supporting them through the current challenging time.
The charity is also continuing to provide financial grants to patients who are struggling with bills, including increased heating and food bills as a result of self-isolation.
Colleen Shaw, Chief Executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said public support made ‘all the difference’.
“The Wish Upon a Star appeal is our way of giving people the opportunity to mark this time of year in a unique and special way,” she said.
“Each year we would normally have beautiful Christmas trees in the Cancer Centre, each adorned with stars carrying the special wishes of people across Northern Ireland.
“This year, COVID-19 restrictions have sadly meant that we have had to do things a bit differently, with our stars now taking pride of place on our virtual Christmas tree.
“Every star is cherished as it represents someone very special.
“Not only that, but every donation is very special as it will go on to support local families through the life-saving and life-changing work of Friends of the Cancer Centre.
“So please Wish Upon A Star this Christmas.”
To Wish Upon a Star, visit
Alternatively, text the word WISH to 70520 to donate £10 to Friends of the Cancer Centre. Texts cost your donation plus standard network charge. Friends of the Cancer Centre receives 100 per cent of your donation. Obtain the bill payer’s permission.
To find out more about the life-changing work call Friends of the Cancer Centre on 028 9069 9393.