Ballymena based RLG Car Booters have raised a phenomenal £28,804 for the Northern Ireland Hospice through 52 car boot sales.
The group, who were honoured at a reception hosted by the Mayor, Cr. Audrey Wales last week, was set up in memory of Richard Lee Gibson, who passed away at the In Patient Unit of NI Hospice in October 2013 aged just 34.
Richard was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2009 and over the next four years he faced the challenges of his acute illness with a great sense of humour, a positive attitude and courage. Despite the gruelling treatment and invasive surgery never once did Richard complain. His family, Manchester City and music were his life.
Tragically, in May 2013, Richard’s condition became terminal and in October 2013 he was transferred to the Hospice. Richard only spent four days there but his final days were peaceful, dignified and pain free surrounded by his family who meant so much to him.
His wife Lisa was so overwhelmed by the immense difference hospice care had made to Richard in such a short period of time that she decided to raise vital funds for this local charity which had become so close to her heart.
After Richard passed away, she kindly requested donations in lieu of floral tributes and £1,020 was raised. A further £2,100 was donated from staff at Belfast International Airport where Richard’s father works and, in December 2013 Lisa set up the Richard Gibson Tribute Fund to commemorate her brave husband and their first boot sale was held.
It raised £350 and Richard’s family set an initial fundraising target of £5,000, however, ongoing community support continually prompted the R.L.G Car Booters to raise their target and soon £30,000 will be reached.
Richard’s wife Lisa said: “When Richard was transferred to Hospice I was initially very apprehensive as I envisaged it to be a gloomy place. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. They really are a team of exceptional people and I wanted to ‘give something back’ to show appreciation for the fantastic care my husband received.
“It keeps the family going knowing we are doing something positive and helpful in Ricky’s honour. Sharon Gorman, NI Hospice Donor Officer, said: “We cannot express just how grateful we are to Richard’s loved ones for raising a phenomenal £28,804.”
Rain or shine they have been at a boot sale to raise as much funds as they can in Richard’s memory. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with the R.L.G Car Booters who have selflessly put aside their own heartache to help other local hospice patients”.