Portadown agents collect for Aundrea
The industry has been urged to rally behind a Thomas Cook agent who needs urgent medical treatment after being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer.
Staff and customers across Thomas Cook’s 25 shops in Northern Ireland have contributed towards the £22,000 raised for 42-year-old mum-of-two Aundrea Bannatyne after she was told she had just six to 12 months to live.
Doctors failed to diagnose the tumour until her seventh visit to A&E on July 8.
Bannatyne, who is a cluster manager for Thomas Cook’s Bangor and Newtownards stores and has worked for the company for 21 years, needs to raise up to £100,000 to pay for treatment in England that could potentially prolong her life.
The treatment isn’t available in Northern Ireland. Bannatyne only has access to chemotherapy.
Her colleague Nicola Allison, also a cluster manager, has issued a clarion call for the travel trade to join ‘Aundrea’s Army’ and help raise funds.
Allison said: “It’s been a challenging time but Aundrea wouldn’t want us to get upset. We are using that energy to push harder to fundraise.
“Aundrea is a very caring, funny woman. She’s the life and soul of the party and offers advice and support to lots of people – now we’re doing that for her.
“Aundrea is extremely well known in the Northern Ireland travel trade and so many agents from other multiples and independents have been in contact offering support with events and donating. Suppliers have also been very supportive.
“Aundrea is blown away by the support we’ve had. Any donations will be greatly appreciated.”
Among the fundraising activities being organised are sponsored waxathons, charity boxing matches, walking challenges, mud runs and a tandem skydive.