Friday, 27 November 2015

Roll up for the Rodneython

I haven't asked for your help on here for a little while.  But that's about to change.

Anyone who has read this guff down the years will know all about my friend Rodney McCune.  He's a very talented young man.  A barrister by trade, I covered his first trial in the Old Bailey exclusively for the Coleraine Times.  He's stood for Parliament a few times and will, in time, get a seat.  He's been on The Richard and Judy Show after making a citizen's arrest, also getting him in the Daily Mail.  And he was groomsman on my wedding day.  Did a very good job too.

Rodney married a very nice lady from Uzbekistan called Firuza, which brings me on to the reason for this post.

Their wedding took place five years ago in Firuza's native land.  Their youngest guest was a little girl named Samira.  She had her whole life ahead of her and, by all accounts, enjoyed her day.  

Speaking to Claire McNeilly at the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week, Rodney took up the story.   

"Samira was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in May 2014," he said. "I was devastated when I recently became aware of how ill she is.

"Uzbekistan is not the wealthiest country in the world, but Samira's family and friends managed to scrape together £50,000 to pay for the treatment in Moscow over the last 12 months.

"Now, though, they are struggling to raise more money and that's why I wanted to do something to help."

He added: "There is no National Health Service there. Samira and her mother are completely on their own."

Rodney and Firuza now live in Belfast, and are mum and dad to Charlie who has a cheeky smile.    

"When you're the parent of a young child it obviously makes anything like this more personal," Rodney continued.

"Moscow is a five-hour flight from Uzbekistan and it makes it much harder being treated so far from home. But the good news is that doctors are fairly confident that when she finishes her treatment she'll make a full recovery."

Another £25,000 is required for Samira to get better.  And Rodney is determined to raise it.

"I know there are many worthy causes out there - in Northern Ireland and beyond," he told Claire.

"But for me it's very sad to see any child's life reduced to a financial element, and that's why I wanted to see what we could do.

"This only comes down to money. She is already two-thirds of the way through her treatment. Not every child who's ill can be saved but, with financial support, Samira can be.

"That's what's so significant about it. It's simply down to paying for expensive treatment."

He added: "My wife always says that people in Northern Ireland are very public spirited and charitable when it comes to fundraising and that's why I wanted to raise the profile of this."

If you want to do your little bit to help Samira, you can by logging onto (And you don't have to come from where I come from).
I know Rodney and Firuza would be very grateful to you.