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Boston Celtics honour father’s fundraising in memory of son

Colm Homan, left, trains with his late son, Eoghan, in 2020 (Photograph supplied)

A Bermudian father who lost his son to a rare form of cancer was honoured by the Boston Celtics basketball team after raising thousands of dollars for cancer research.

Colm Homan, 51, was given the Heroes Among Us Award on Friday after he collected $68,410 on behalf of Boston Children’s Hospital.

The PwC partner got the spotlight at TD Garden, the Celtics sports arena, during a home game.

Mr Homan said that the moment was surreal for him, adding: “It’s not every day they honour someone outside the US, much less someone from Bermuda.”

The honour comes as Mr Homan and his family are due to run the 128th annual Boston Marathon today with the Boston Children’s Hospital team, Miles for Miracles.

He said that they joined the team in honour of his late son, Eoghan, who died last February at age of 16 after a battle with the rare and aggressive Ewing sarcoma.

He explained that Eoghan spent 14 months fighting cancer with the help of Boston Children’s Hospital.

Mr Homan said that during his stay, Eoghan became a “massive fan” of the Celtics, and even got to meet his favourite players and coaching staff a week before he died.

“We have stayed in touch with the Celtics community team, and when they heard that we would be in Boston for the race, they came up with the idea of recognising me as a Hero Among Us.”

Mr Homan said that since his son’s death, he had done all he could to help the hospital and children’s cancer research at large.

He said that only 4 per cent of yearly federal funding in the US went towards cancer research, while 2 per cent of funding in Britain went towards children’s cancer research. Research into rare forms of cancer, such as Ewing sarcoma, which affects bone cells and soft tissue around the bones, hardly gets any funding, he said.

Mr Homan said it was because of this that he ran for Miles for Miracles last year and managed to raise $86,000, making him the hospital’s largest individual donor and its only donor for research into Ewing sarcoma.

Since last November, he has raised more than $68,000 — about $5,000 more than his original goal.

His donations allowed Boston Children’s Hospital to start paediatric cancer treatment trials for the first time in more than a year.

Mr Homan said of the hospital’s team: “We had the support of almost every patient-facing team at the hospital.

“You never want to be in a position where you need to have your child attend a hospital, but when you are in need, you want one where they will treat you like a member of their own family.”

Mr Homan said that training for the marathon had been his “saviour” and allowed him to feel closer to his son.

He said: “Running was something that Eoghan and I used to do together and really enjoyed.

“Initially I signed up to do last year’s Boston Marathon while he was still with us, and I was very much hoping he would be able to cheer me on to the finish line, but things didn’t work out that way because it progressed a lot faster than we’d expected.

“In the months after that, it was definitely my therapy, getting out and just having some clear head time.

“It actually feels like he’s with me when I’m running, so it means a lot to me.”

Mr Homan said that Eoghan would feel “humbled” to know that so much was being done in his name.

But he added: “He would know the job’s not done until no child dies from cancer.”

The Boston Marathon is due to start at 11am AST.

A link to Mr Homan’s fundraiser can be found here.

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Published April 15, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated April 15, 2024 at 8:08 am)

Boston Celtics honour father’s fundraising in memory of son

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