We wanted people to know and see her pictures


Love Amy, a Newtownards-based charity, took the top title of Charity helping the Community, at the Families First Awards, held recently at the Titanic Belfast.

The charity, which aids young people and children affected by cancer, was set up by Mark Reid and his family following the tragic passing of his 20 year-old daughter Amy, who died from cancer in 2013.

The local charity helps children and young people who are battling cancer, or have a family member going through cancer treatment, by administering ‘Smile Grants’, which allow the children to spend money on something that would make them smile.

Explaining the reasoning behind setting up the charity, Mark said: “Amy was very much into fundraising and supported Friends of the Cancer Centre and CLIC Sargent, which is now Young Lives Vs Cancer.”

Shortly before her death, Amy had arranged for her family to dye their hair pink with the hopes of raising £500 for charity.

Unfortunately Amy passed away before the event but Mark and his family decided to go ahead and get involved a month after her death, in her memory.

Together the family surpassed their original goal and fundraised over £30,000 for CLIC Sargent.

The family hosted a music night also in Amy’s name, inviting local singers and songwriters along, which was well received.

The positive response from the events, spurred the family on to continue in their fundraising efforts for a few years, before being approached by a member of CLIC Sargent who suggested they create their own charity.

“We talked about it as a family and decided that we were going to do that and so we started fundraising under the name of Love Amy,” Mark continued, adding that they achieved official charity status back in December.

“One of the reasons we decided to start the charity was, that while Amy is a statistic, we wanted her to be more than that – we wanted people to know and see her pictures.”

Talking about the charity’s Smile Grants, Mark explained: “When Amy was ill she was given grants to help with healing, travel and clothes but if anybody ever gave her some money and said she could do whatever she wanted with it and it didn’t have to be used for something specific, it always seemed to lift her and give her a smile.

“That became the main thing behind what we wanted to do – to give Smile Grants which had no preconditions and the kids could do whatever they wanted and buy whatever they wanted with the money.”

Love Amy also invests in cancer research taking place in Belfast and helps fund Young Lives Vs Cancer’s home from home centre, named after Amy – Amy’s House.

“Amy is our inspiration. It was her idea for us as a family to start fundraising by dying our hair pink and from then we have just carried on,” Mark added, noting that the family has raised around £80,000 so far.

Talking about the award ceremony held recently, Mark said it was ‘mind-blowing’ to have been recognised as a winner in a public vote category.

“It was very humbling but also great to be recognised,” Mark continued. “We don’t do what we do to get recognised but it was great.”

Mark noted that he had hoped to use the award ceremony as an excuse to network and while he did, he said the ‘icing on the cake’ was to win the award.

“When we went up to get the award we got a standing ovation and the award was presented by Pete Snodden from Cool FM.,” he said.

“It was a great night and a great honour to have Amy’s name and her story heard by people who had never met her or ever heard about the charity – it was a great night.”

To find out more about the charity, visit: