On the eve of Saturday, 25, February 2017 more than 450 guests joined Ronan and Storm Keating for the annual Emeralds & Ivy Ball, which took place at the Battersea Evolution Centre. The ball, which is now in its 11th year, has raised more than £7 million, since it had begun, in 2006, to support the Marie Keating Foundation and Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Awareness Roadshow. The crushing truth remains that cancer is an unapologetic disease that shows no mercy while taking precious lives every day. At some point, someone we know or love dearly -whether a family member, friend or an acquaintance – is suffering or has died from cancer. Unfortunately, Ronan Keating and his family lost their mother, Marie Keating, to breast cancer in 1998. She was only 51 years of age. During such turmoil, all one can do is surrender without anger and, subsequently, work toward making a positive difference. Ronan Keating and his family are leading by example, having set up the Marie Keating Foundation in 2001: “Making cancer less frightening by enlightening.” After all, the best way to teach someone a lesson is through education; thus, “knowledge is power,” indeed.
In 2006, Ronan then approached the Cancer Research UK to set up mobile road show units in the UK, which proved to be a success in the Republic of Ireland due to providing cancer information free of charge to increase awareness of the causes of cancer and the ways to combat early symptoms. Furthermore, specialist nurses play a fundamental role in the running of these units by talking to the general public about ‘life-saving steps to reduce the risk of cancer’ in addition to putting them in touch with local services. Cancer affects us all in one way or form, which is why I feel we owe it to ourselves to continue to raise awareness through as many fundraising platforms as possible. The Emeralds and Ivy Ball now funds two out of four Cancer Awareness Roadshow Units that continue to tour the UK as part of our collective effort to help reduce the number of lives affected by cancer. Once again, Ronan and Storm Keating pulled out all the stops at this year’s star-studded, circus-themed ball to celebrate the partnership between the Marie Keating Foundation and Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity that receives no government funding. Therefore, ‘every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated, so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will still be alive ten years or more after a cancer diagnosis.’
My mother and I were invited to the ball. We had a blast from the get-go with world-class entertainment in abundance. Upon arrival, we could not resist a few glasses of bubbly from one of the beverage sponsors, Pol Roger champagne. Soon after, we cleansed our palettes with Fenney’s Irish Cream liqueur presented in small milk bottles with ice. Banham Group, London’s largest security provider, were the headline supporters for the ball. The welcome reception captivated our attention, until dinner, with light-hearted activities you would find on a circus ground, along with a photo booth, popcorn, and candy stand, as well as some of the auction prizes on exhibition. After an hour or so, we were then escorted to the main hall, where guests were greeted by Ronan and Storm Keating, followed by a touching speech by their children. James Nesbitt OBE hosted the rest of the evening while guests enjoyed a three-course meal in the style of authentic fine dining. What made the night even more dynamic were speeches by guests Sir Harpal Kumar, who was knighted in the 2016 New Years Honours List for services to cancer research, and a cancer survivor who shared her incredible journey.
There were some fantastic prizes up for grabs in a live auction, including an escape to Necker Island, an iconic piece of Artwork by Ed Chapman, two VIP tickets to meet James Corden at The Late Late Show in LA, and a holiday in Marbella to join a host of celebrities at the Global Gift Celebrity Golf Challenge and Gala Dinner. We then enjoyed the rest of the evening sipping on delicious cocktails, including a “Dubliner Honey Comb Sour” and a “Dubliner & Ginger” while dancing away to Simple Minds, Heather Small and, of course, Ronan Keating. As a result of this incredible evening, a whopping £606,000 was raised to support two amazing causes: Cancer Research UK and the Marie Keating Foundation, which brought back memories of when I took part in the British 10k London Run, in 2015, in aid of Cancer Research UK. I may not have raised as much as the Emerald and Ivy Ball. Nonetheless, I felt proud of the sum I had raised. Every little bit helps to save another life, potentially. I did this by myself, so think about how much could be achieved if more of us worked together. In order to win it, you have got to be in it!
“Our Emeralds & Ivy Ball has been going for 11 years now, and it remains a hugely important event in helping us raise awareness and funds for Cancer Research UK through the Marie Keating Foundation” – Ronan Keating.
Written by @Styleiconnat | The Lifestyle Collective -“A Unique Expression of A Creative Power” | Images of Ronan Keating by Jon Furniss – OK! Magazine’s Photographers | Remaining Images My Own