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Fighting cancer with music

478. Craig Gilligan

A music teacher set up a Trust in memory of his son to support teenagers battling cancer.

Craig Gilligan’s son Joe was a talented drummer working towards a career in music when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour aged 18. Joe and his family stayed positive throughout his treatment and were grateful for the specialised support and care they received from the Young Person’s Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Joe sadly died in 2009, and shortly after one of Craig’s music students suggested they hold a memorial concert. That event became the start of the Joe Gilligan Trust, a charity which has raised over £250,000 to support other teenagers fighting cancer.

Since the Joe Gilligan Trust was set up in 2010, Craig has led a range of fundraising events, from music gigs to rugby matches. Many of Joe’s friends and Craig’s music students have got involved with raising money for the trust. The money is used to directly fund practical day-to-day support for teenagers with cancer like laptops for school work, or new clothes for those who have put on lots of weight due to chemotherapy treatment. The Trust also offers a platform for aspiring young musicians like Joe, with opportunities to perform gigs and mentoring and advice to support them.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Craig has shown incredible strength in setting up the Joe Gilligan Trust in memory of his son. He has raised a fantastic amount of money to support other teenagers fighting cancer, and also those who shared Joe’s love of music. The practical assistance the Trust provides has made a real difference in the lives of many young people. To all those Craig has helped, he is truly a Point of Light.”

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