A Coleraine Charitable Trust has donated £15,000 to a campaign fund to help five-year-old Coleraine boy Oliver Dickey walk.
Members of the Trust visited the Dickey family home in Millburn on Saturday to break the news of the donation to Oliver’s parents Charlene and Neil.
The wonderful donation has now taken the amount collected by the Wee Oliver Walk Fund to almost £50,000 with money from events, raffles and personal donations keeping the total racing towards its £60,000 target.
A pupil at Millburn Primary School, little Oliver was diagnosed with the spastic diplegia form of cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old and is confined to a wheelchair.
The Trust hopes that the donation - a quarter of the target total needed to send Oliver to America for life-changing Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) spinal surgery - will encourage the community to make one final push to fundraise for the family.
The trustees include Father Charlie Keaney, parish priest of St John’s Church in Killowen and Rev Bert Ritchie of the Church of Christ, at Artillery Road, close to Oliver’s home - and David Rankin, Editor of The Coleraine Times.
They met at Chapelfield on Thursday evening to discuss how they could help Oliver and agreed to immediately release the sum to the Tree of Life campaign fund.
In a statement, the Trust said it had been both touched by Oliver’s plight and inspired by the dignified campaign of his parents and the vigorous response of the entire community.
“The fundraising campaign has been a shining beacon of hope for Oliver and as a cross-denominational trust we felt compelled to support the family with this significant donation.
“Everyone in the community has been touched by Oliver’s story. We have been impressed by the humility of Oliver’s parents, Charlene and Neil and their inspirational campaign. We hope our donation will encourage the community to support the family in their fundraising efforts and pray that Oliver’s surgery in America will be successful and allow him to walk and play like his classmates.”
Oliver’s mum, Charlene, said: “I only set-up Oliver’s Just Giving page on New Year’s Day and the six weeks since then have been the most surreal of my life. Every time I think people could not be any kinder or more generous, something else happens.
“David Rankin, from the Trust, gave me cause for great hope when we spoke on the phone and arranged to meet. But, in our wildest dreams, none of us involved with the campaign could have dreamt that Oliver would receive such a large single donation.
“I cannot thank David enough for taking the time and trouble to get in touch. And, of course, I want to thank all the trustees for agreeing to sign-off such a big cheque for Oliver.
“For the first time, we are starting to believe that he’ll get access to the treatment he needs in St Louis Children’s Hospital and will have the chance to walk.
“We still have some way to go before we reach our target, but none of us will not stop working until we get there. Thank you again to everyone who has donated so far and please keep giving what you can.”