East Belfast MP backs Brennan family reach fundraising goal

Gavin Robinson MP to host fundraising event for east-Belfast boy Zak Brennan

A special movie evening has been organised by East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson to help bring Zak Brennan (3) to the US for pioneering cancer treatment.

The Strand Arts Centre will show an exclusive preview of the new Star Wars film; A Rogue One, on Tuesday December 20 at 7.30pm with a special drinks reception kindly sponsored by the Park Avenue Hotel before the screening at 6.30pm.

Just over one year ago, Zak was given the devastating blow that he had Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Since then, his family has been rallying to raise £134,000 to take Zak to the US to access the specialised treatment he so desperately needs.

Thanks to the generosity of the people of east Belfast and the surrounding communities, Zak’s 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.

At just three years old, 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.

The treatment comes at a huge cost however and so Zakky’s parents Leeane and Gareth decided to set up the Zakky Brennan Fund in a bid to give their son the best fighting chance to beat his illness. Having seen Zak’s plight on social media, Gavin Robinson was determined to help with the fundraising efforts and so is calling on his constituents to come out and support this great cause.

“I like everyone else in Belfast, have been really moved by Zakky’s story and am confident that we can help the Brennan family reach their target before Christmas. 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 are priced at £12 for adults and £8 for children and can be purchased from the box office at the Strand Arts Centre or www.strandartscentre.com

To keep up to date with all of Zakky’s progress follow his story at www.facebook.com/zakkybrennan or on Twitter @Zakkybrennan12