THE CAST and crew of Derry Girls are rallying around their colleague whose life-saving cancer treatment is not available on the NHS.
Julie Ann Lillis, 37, is a Production Co-ordinator who worked on Series 2 of the hit Channel 4 show, which provided some of the show's most classic scenes, including the iconic Blackboard sketch.
In September of last year, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and just one month later it was found that the cancer had spread, and Julie was facing a battle against Stage 4 cancer, being advised it would reduce her life dramatically.
" Hearing this unimaginable news completely floored me," Julie wrote on GoFundMe where she shared her story, "but I scraped myself back up, remained hopeful and determined to do what I could to try and shrink the cancer and prolong my life.
"I am not ready to leave this world yet!"
After her diagnosis last year, Julie cycled 300km around Northern Ireland, raising £10,000 for cancer charities, but is now in dire need of raising money for herself, as one of the only drugs which could help her condition is not available on the NHS .
Julie says she has found it "extremely hard to make this page and ask for help, but with encouragement from friends and family I have swallowed my pride and the fear of putting myself out there publicly again. I am going public in the hope to gain this much-needed lifeline, while also continuing to raise further awareness of the disease.
"So I am asking for kindness and support from friends and strangers alike, to help make this become a reality, being able to fund this promising new drug to prolong my life."
Julie's fundraiser was shared on social media by Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee, who wrote: "Our amazing Series 2 Production Co- ordinator Julie Ann is in urgent need of funds for life saving treatment not available on the NHS. Please help and share if you can."
Our amazing Series 2 Production Co- ordinator Julie Ann is in urgent need of funds for life saving treatment not available on the NHS. Please help and share if you can #DerryGirls https://t.co/ubaADwaMPx
— Lisa McGee (@LisaMMcGee) June 23, 2021
Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare in the show and has recently found international fame through her role in Bridgerton, shared the fundraiser asking people to help "a member of the [Derry Girls] family", and Siobhán McSweeney, aka Sister Michael, urged people to "put some pennies in the pot if you can", while other castmates shared the fundraiser to their followers.
The reaction to Julie's story has been swift and generous: after less than one week, the 37-year-old has raised over £52,000 pounds, over half of the £80,000 target.
To read more about Julie's story, or to donate, you can visit the GoFundMe here.