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Talented 13 year old Conor Sands has recorded a Christmas CD as a way of showing his gratitude to the staff of the Mandeville Cancer Unit in Craigavon.

Conor is the youngest of four children to Niall and Joanne Sands from Camlough. 

Despite Conor only being 3 years old, he can remember a wave of change in his home when his Dad first became gravely ill after being diagnosed with cancer . 

Conor explained "As a child I recall myself and my sisters Ciara and Seana and elder brother Eoin having to stay with family and friends whilst my Mum juggled her worklife as a nurse, running a home, looking after a young family, taking us to their afterschool activities and seeing to her husband Niall”.

He continued “I first heard of the Mandeville Unit ten years ago this Christmas (2011) when my father Niall was diagnosed with Cancer.

"I recall my father regularly travelling to the Mandeville Unit for his chemotherapy, or his ‘dose of jungle juice’ as I described it. The Mandeville Unit is one of the four regional chemotherapy centres in Northern Ireland.

The Unit based at Craigavon Area Hospital facilitates the outpatients delivery of chemotherapy and supportive therapies for patients who have been diagnosed with Cancer. More than 26 people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with Cancer every day”.

The young St Paul’s High School Bessbrook student has been gaining quite a name for himself in local musical and drama circles.

Talking about his love for entertaining, Conor said “Life wasn’t easy, but my Mum made sure we didn’t miss out. It was from that very young age that I developed a love for singing and performing arts.

"I have had  the privilege of performing in many shows from Broadway Musicals, to the up and coming premier production of Matlida Jr.”

 Conor would be the first to say that it was his Dad’s incredible faith and the fantastic care and support of the staff at the Mandeville Unit that gave them Hope.

Now 10 years on from his Dads first diagnosis, Conor wishes to show his gratitude to all at Mandeville Unit for their professional care and life saving services.

Praising the Mandeville Unit, he said “Not only did the Mandeville Unit look after my Dad, but they gave great support to us as a family and we will be forever indebted to their specialised, care and support we received during the challenges and fears we as family faced with Dad’s Cancer diagnosis.

"My Mum and Dad have a simple motto in life ‘Always do good when you get the chance.’

"So this got me thinking, what can I do? Well I can sing! So I mentioned it to my Mum and before I knew it, I was recording my own Christmas Album and befittingly called it ‘A Gift of Hope.’ “.

The CD will be launched on 1st December with all proceeds going to the Mandville Unit Craigavon.

Conor has been overwhelmed by the generosity of support to help put his CD together and would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people who helped this experience become possible.

Fiona Flynn- Flynn Performing Arts

Danny O’Neill- Accompanist

Pat McCaul- Take Six Recording Studios

Claire butler Photography

Tony Mohan- Midd Atlantic Duplications

The CD costs £10 and can be bought locally through contacting Joanne. Email jo.12@hotmail.co.uk 

Phone Number- 07971628809

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