Carson McDowell Solicitor Named Point of Light by Prime Minister

Leona Rankin recognised for her outstanding contribution to the community

09 March 2017

Practice Area: Employment Law


Leona Rankin, a solicitor in Carson McDowell's employment team has been given a prestigious award by the Prime Minister for her work to support people living with sarcoma in Northern Ireland.

Leona, who founded The Boom Foundation, has been named a Point of Light by Theresa May.

Every week day the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the award. Points of Light are described as outstanding individuals who are making a change in their community.

Leona lost her fiancé Philip to sarcoma after a ten year fight with the disease, a cancer of the bone and soft tissue. Inspired by his life she set up ‘The Boom Foundation’ to support specialised care in Northern Ireland. She has raised over £350,000, splitting funds across the Sarcoma UK charity and her own initiatives.

The Boom Foundation is now the main referral charity for people living with this type of cancer in Northern Ireland and Leona regularly runs support groups and information days.

In a personal letter to Leona, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The Boom Foundation is changing the lives of hundreds of people living with sarcoma across Northern Ireland. Your tireless dedication to this cause is a wonderful tribute to Philip’s life.”

Responding to the recognition, Leona said: “I am truly overwhelmed at receiving the Point of Light award and am so grateful for the recognition that The Boom Foundation will receive from such a prestigious award. When The Boom Foundation was set up in 2013, my hope was that it would help patients in some small way and that gaps in the support system in Northern Ireland would be filled. Now, almost four years on, the charity has grown and has made a real difference to the lives of sarcoma patients, in a way that I could never have imagined.

“Boom is a charity run by a team of four trustees and a small number of volunteers. In receiving this award, it acknowledges the incredible work that they each do in their own time and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support and for all those who fundraise and very kindly donate to Boom.”

Orlagh O'Neill, partner at Carson McDowell who works with Leona in the employment team, said: “We are incredibly proud of everything that Leona has achieved with The Boom Foundation. Today’s award, which is going to a young woman who has demonstrated unwavering commitment to improving the lives of others, is richly deserved. As an employer we are keen to support our employees achieve both personal and professional goals. During the last four years Carson McDowell has come together to support Leona and Boom by attending events, fundraising and working with her to help such a worthy charity to succeed. We are delighted for Leona and The Boom Foundation.”