Charity Foundation’s fundraising Gala Ball to cap “hugely successful year”

January 14, 2019

Tickets are now available for the Sabrina Ryan Foundation Gala Ball, which takes place on 2nd February in the Carrickdale Hotel.  The annual event has become a highlight in the area’s social calendar since it began two years ago in memory of Killean woman, Sabrina Ryan.

The inaugural gala ball in 2017 marked the official launch of the charity foundation set up in honour of the south Armagh woman who lost her bravely fought battle with cancer in April 2015. The Sabrina Ryan Foundation aims to continue the compassionate work started by its namesake and for which Sabrina gained an international reputation through her fashion and lifestyle website ‘So She Knows’.

Sabrina was just 28 when she died, four years after being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer.  Following her diagnosis in 2011, she became a passionate advocate of the work of the Irish Cancer Society, establishing a website and blog which dealt with issues faced by cancer sufferers and offered practical tips on how to cope with events such as hair loss, as well as fashion and lifestyle advice.  Her blog helped thousands of people deal with their own personal health worries and turned Sabrina into a beacon of hope for many who shared her situation.

The Sabrina Ryan Foundation continues Sabrina’s fantastic work, offering financial assistance to people experiencing the emotional and lifestyle effects of cancer treatment – helping to pay for services such as the purchase of wigs, eyebrowdery, reflexology, weekend retreats as well as practical necessities like heating fuel, beds and comfortable chairs. 

As the charity looks forward to next month’s black tie ball, Sabrina’s twin sister Donna, one of the founders of the foundation says 2018 has been a hugely successful year for the charity. She paid tribute to the “amazing people” who have fundraised over the last twelve months, organising everything from competitions and marathons, to scaling Everest in aid of the local charity.  

Donna (left) and her twin sister Sabrina who passed away in April 2015 after a five year battle with lung cancer. Donna founded the Sabrina Ryan Foundation in her sister’s name to offer financial assistance to people experiencing the emotional and lifestyle effects of cancer.

Speaking to The Examiner about the work of the foundation, Donna said one of the aims for 2019 was to reach out and help more men suffering from cancer.  With 95% of the charity’s clients female, the foundation wants to widen its reach and increase the amount of male and younger recipients of help and assistance.

Donna revealed that an important part of the charity’s work is to help improve patients’ mental health during treatment and after it and that, during her own treatment, her late sister had addressed a number of suicide awareness talks as a spokesperson for the Irish Cancer Society, discussing poor mental health amongst cancer patients. 

“The symptoms and treatments for cancer can leave patients and their families feeling afraid and isolated and often lead to a loss of self esteem and independence,” said Donna.

“While the main focus turns to becoming physically better, this takes a serious toll on their mental health and emotional wellbeing which can be much harder to recover from.”

“The Sabrina Ryan Foundation focuses on improving and maintaining a patient’s emotional and mental wellbeing during their cancer battle.  We want to give them hope in life again and give them the extra strength they need to win the fight against cancer.”

The upcoming charity Gala Ball kickstarts another year of fundraising for the foundation.  This year’s host is local businesswoman and The Apprentice star, Grainne McCoy. The glittering black-tie event includes a champagne reception followed by a four course meal, spot prizes and music from Sugartown Road. Tickets are priced £50 and available from the Carrickdale Hotel on 00353 (42)938 0900 or email