It has been a whirlwind week for little Oliver Dickey as not only did he meet some of the country’s top sporting stars but his appeal also topped the £30,000 mark.
Oliver and his family have been overwhelmed with the support they have received from the general public in the five weeks since the launch of his appeal to raise the £60,000 needed for his life-changing surgery.
Last Sunday a trip up to see the Belfast Giants helped raise another £1,500 towards their total as Oliver’s mum Charlene explained.
“The trip came about through Giants player Adam Keefe,” Charlene told the Coleraine Times.
“He retweeted one of our tweets on Twitter about the appeal before contacting us about coming up to the Odyssey. During the game Todd Kelman, the General Manager, put Oliver’s picture up on the big screen along with the donation details and within a couple of minutes over £800 was raised, it was amazing.
“After the game Adam (Keefe) put a pair of his signed gloves up for auction and that raised another £600!”
On Thursday Oliver was the special guest of Derry City FC as they hosted a special Media Day as part of their pre-season training. Oliver was the special guest of former Coleraine striker Rory Patterson, who also heard about his story via Twitter.
“Rory was very moved by Oliver’s story as he has a wee boy around the same age,” explained Charlene.
“He was keen to get Oliver a signed shirt, but then he arranged for Derry to invite him up for a day. When we got there they had set it up for Oliver to ‘sign’ for Derry and his new team-mate Rory presented with his own personalised top as well as a signed shirt from all the players.
“The players and staff also handed over £520 which they raised. It was a fantastic gesture from them.”
It’s just one of a number of heart warming gestures which have left the Dickey family feeling overwhelmed.
“We just can’t thank everyone enough,” said Charlene. “We have been absolutely bowled over by the kindness shown to Oliver and our family. When we launched the appeal five weeks ago never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we would have raised £30,000 by now.
“People have been absolutely amazing. When we get up in the morning right through to we go to bed at night my phone doesn’t stop between notifications for online donations or people contacting us about fundraising for Oliver.
“All this has helped up book Oliver in for his surgery in July, which is fantastic for us all. It means he will be able to finish this school year before heading to America, then he has a bit of time when he comes home to recuperate.
“It all seems so real now, we never thought that we would get here so quickly, that is down to the generosity and kindness of everyone, it has done and will make a huge difference to our lives.”
There are a number of fundraising events planned for the rest of this month.
On Saturday 15 February there is a 10k run/5k walk at the East Strand in Portrush, just turn up on the day registration is £5. On the same day there will be a Coffee Morning in First Coleraine Church, donations will be taken on the day, everyone welcome.
On Sunday 16 February there is a fundraising football match at Coleraine Showgorunds organised by the Freeman Memorial Flute Band at 2pm, there will be a bucket collection on the day.
On Saturday 22 February there will be a fundraising Fashion Show in Coleraine Social Club. Comperes are Mark Crawford and Jonny Johnston and there will be a special appearance by the Innova Dance Company. Tickets £10.
There will be a 5-a-side football tournament in Coleraine Leisure Centre on Sunday 23 February with entertainment in the Social Club afterwards.