'fought to the end' | 

Mum of young man who died within days of cancer diagnosis pays tribute to ‘beautiful boy’

Daniel was treated for a bleed in the brain. However, tests revealed he had testicular cancer, which had spread to his lungs and brain

Daniel Donnan

Daniel Donnan

Brett CampbellBelfast Telegraph

The mother of a young Co Down bowler who died within days of cancer diagnosis has paid tribute to her son “who fought to the end”.

Daniel Donnan will be laid to rest in his hometown of Donaghadee this weekend.

The 21-year-old passed away suddenly in the Ulster Hospital on Monday, after suffering a dizzy spell a few days earlier.

He was treated for a bleed in the brain. However, medical tests revealed he had testicular cancer, which had spread to his lungs and brain.

“It is with great sadness our beautiful boy passed away. He fought to the end, with his beautiful family around him,” his devastated mum posted on social media.

“Daniel, you will forever be in our hearts xx.”

A funeral notice describes Daniel as the “devoted and cherished son of Brian and Sharon” and the “treasured brother of Curtis”.

“Much-loved grandson of Susan and June. Loving nephew of Amanda, Victoria and Mick. Precious boyfriend of Vicky,” it adds.

Daniel’s funeral will take place at Shore Street Presbyterian Church in Donaghadee at 10.30am on Saturday.

He will be buried in Ballyvester Cemetery after the service.

The family has requested donations in lieu of flowers for Cancer Focus NI, either directly or through Shields Funeral Directors.

“Daniel will be very sadly missed by his entire family circle and friends, at home and in Canada,” the funeral notice continues.

Daniel Donnan

The painter and decorator had planned to do a sponsored swim during the month of March and was aiming to complete 105kms over the next few weeks.

The effort to raise money for Donaghadee Youth For Christ (DYFC) drop-in centre and animal rescue group Paws And People was put on hold following the shock diagnosis last week.

Rising Sons of Down Donaghadee flute band has also paid an emotional tribute to its young member, whose passing has caused “great sadness and heavy hearts”.

“One of the nicest young men who walked in our ranks now walks in our hearts,” it said on Facebook.

“Our deepest sympathies to Brian, Sharon, Curtis and the wider family circle and girlfriend Vicky at this saddest of times. Rest easy, young man.”

Blood and thunder band Flutes &Drums Donaghadee said it is “incredibly saddened” by the passing of a former member.

“Daniel, along with his father, Brian, was a member of our ranks in our early days on the road,” it posted on Facebook.

“He moved on to become a very talented young man in many areas of life, especially his bowls, which he loved greatly.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with Brian, Sharon, Curtis and the rest of the family circle, as well as girlfriend Vicky, at this extremely difficult time. Safe in the arms.”

Bangor Bowling Club secretary Thomas Cannavan previously told the Belfast Telegraph that the close-knit community has been left in a state of shock following the sudden loss, including Daniel’s dad, who is also a member.

“Everyone is just completely devastated,” he said.

“We still can’t believe it. This all happened in a matter of days.”

Daniel had been in touch with fellow team members from his hospital bed, saying he was looking forward to the bowling season starting in a few weeks, before he received the tragic diagnosis.

“Then there were conversations about emergency chemotherapy. We wanted to go and see him but were told we would have to wait until next week. That chance never came,” Mr Cannavan said.

“It’s absolutely heart-breaking for us.”

Tributes have also poured in from bowling clubs throughout Northern Ireland and around the UK for Daniel, who was the under-25 runner-up in the Northern Ireland Bowling Association (NIBA) Championships in 2018.

The competitor won the under-18 singles in 2019, which allowed him to compete in the Irish championships but was beaten in the final.

Daniel recently won the Bangor pairs competition and succeeded in numerous domestic leagues and cups.

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