The fundraising achievements of Donaghcloney mum Lana Wells have been recognised at a Christmas Carol Service held at Stormont by the charity Meningitis Research Foundation.
The service which was held in the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings included musical entertainment from Queen’s Island Victoria Male Voice Choir and guest flautist Richard Douglas and was hosted by local Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson MLA.
Mrs Dobson welcomed guests to the service and in an opening address paid tribute to Lana as a ‘real dynamo who in memory of her beloved little Leo has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Meningitis charities, saved lives and changed the minds of Health Ministers.’
Commenting after the event Mrs Dobson said: “It was wonderful to both see and hear the Great Hall at Stormont filled with Christmas spirit and all in aid of an amazing cause – continued research into Meningitis.
“Meningitis is a cruel disease that even its mention strikes fear into the heart of families. It can kill in a matter of hours and babies and young people are all especially susceptible to it.
“But thanks to campaigners like Lana we now have a Meningitis B vaccine available for all new born babies in Northern Ireland – giving them a fighting chance of surviving this disease.
“As a political representative and a friend I have been proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Lana throughout her campaigning over recent years.
“Campaigning which is motivated by love can never ever be defeated.
“Lana is deserving of recognition for raising over fifty thousand pounds for the local Meningitis Charities and also for helping to hold the feet of Ministers to the fire which eventually led to the long-awaited announcement earlier this year that the life-saving vaccine would be made available for new born babies.
“Lana’s lifesaving campaigning will help to ensure that families will not have to go through the heartbreak of losing a child to this preventable disease.”
Lana, who lost her little son Leo just weeks before he turned two and a half, attended the service along with her daughter Courtney and said it was a very moving occasion.
“Everyone who attended the service has been affected in some way by Meningitis.
“I’m so thankful to MRF and Jo-Anne Dobson for organising everything and especially Jo-Anne for her continued support,” she said.
Lana’s campaigning has so far seen the introduction of the Men B vaccine for babies and the ACWY vaccine for 17 and 18-year-olds.