A BANGOR woman has raised almost £2,000 for a cancer charity at a gala event in memory of her beloved late husband.
The gala, held in the Clandeboye Lodge on Friday evening, was held in memory of Bangor man, Stephen ‘Babbsey’ Babb, who was a well known taxi driver in the area for over 25 years.
The event, which raised £1,714 for the cancer support charity Macmillan, was organised by Stephen’s wife, Dee.
Stephen was diagnosed with cancer of the throat in 2020 and passed away at the Ulster Hospital in May, 2022.
Dee is a Surrey native who has been living in Bangor for 33 years, and is also a breast cancer survivor. Through her own experience with the illness, and the devastating loss of her husband, Dee has thrown herself into fundraising for cancer charities.
“The gala was in memory of Stephen and was attended by his friends and close family,” said Dee.
“He was a well known taxi driver in Bangor,” she added. “We got together in 2006, married in 2015 and had a gorgeous boy, Joshua.”
Dee detailed her own history with cancer, as well as her husband’s courageous battle with the disease.
“The chemo is toxic,” she said. “It is a treatment, but it did destroy me, it made me feel so ill,” said the Bangor woman.
“It was the same with Stevie, who unfortunately refused to allow his voice box to be taken out, and the cancer was in the back of his voice box.
“Macmillan are so desperately needing the money, because people are getting diagnosed everyday with this awful disease. The charity was so good to our family I thought it was good to give back because Macmillan does struggle to secure enough money for their vital work.”
As a long time champion for the cancer support group, this is not Dee’s first time raising funds for the charity. In her own battle with stage three breast cancer in 2018, she held a coffee morning from home.
Then a year later, over £3,000 was raised at the Crawfordsburn Inn, all organised and championed by the Bangor woman.
She hails Macmillan’s ongoing work as a way to help both sufferers and family members cope with the ‘awful disease’.
“Without these fundraising events, Macmillan would not survive, because it is a charity organisation. They go out and support families and make people understand how to cope with this awful disease day in and day out,” said Dee.
“People don’t understand cancer until they have been through it. It destroys you, you don’t come out the same person, but you come out a better person, because you left that old person behind.
“At the end of the day you hear cancer and you think you are going to die, and unfortunately, Stephen did. He just couldn’t fight it anymore, his body just rejected it all.
“This is why I do this, because without the money, the funding and the coffee mornings Macmillan wouldn’t survive.”
The long-time fundraiser spoke about the vast funds needed to have a Macmillan nurse come to a sufferers home, as well as the lesser known financial fears of cancer sufferers due to their inability to work.
Macmillan is one of the largest cancer support charities in the UK. Its goal is to support not just the sufferer through their diagnosis of cancer, but also provide support for their families through information about how to cope and what to expect.
Fundraising and donations are a staple for the organisation, with 98% of their funding coming from voluntary donations. More information about the charity and how to donate can be found at www.macmillan.org.uk.