Andrew is a true comic book hero: Gradually taking form, cancer victim's project to help young sufferers
His dying wish was to help other young people suffering from cancer – by being transformed into a comic counterpart.
Now Andrew Fitzsimmons' dream of a comic book about his cancer journey has taken a big step forward.
The Belfast man – who died from osteosarcoma on October 1 last year aged just 23 – was an avid reader and had a final wish to have a comic published that is based on his life.
Andrew's family, friends and Belfast Telegraph readers have been raising funds to make those dreams a reality.
The inspiring legacy project is firmly up and running with the initial concept art now drawn up by the team at Uproar Comics in Londonderry.
The artwork is a good visual representation of what the team in Derry is doing and the finished product, largely scripted by Andrew, will be ready for distribution to young cancer patients and others later this year.
Andrew's father John said this newspaper's coverage of his son's story in February was "an outstanding success" in terms of donations and the accompanying correspondence from the public.
John said: "The Belfast Telegraph coverage really got the ball moving, we got some great response from that.
"People sent money anonymously, old Instonians got in touch. We received some beautiful letters too. The compassion and sincerity of their words were extremely touching and gave us all a sense of support from the community – amazing. We got one uplifting letter from a student who said they didn't have much money and put £10 in with it. We really appreciate all these gestures. It is heart-warming."
The Fitzsimmons' network of friends and family have been busy promoting the project through events and a new website has also been launched.
"His friends have been great," John said. "The new website is up and running. It has had thousands of hits already, and scripting is under way, too."
CLIC Sargent social worker Simon Darby, who worked closely with Andrew on his vision for the comic, said: "The generosity of so many people donating money towards making Andrew's comic a reality is overwhelming," he said.
"I already have other young cancer patients asking me when they can get a copy, largely as a result of the fantastic coverage the story was given in the Belfast Telegraph."
Andrew's family have decided that any money raised over the amount required for the comic will be donated to CLIC Sargent's Homes From Home Appeal.
- For further information or to donate to the project, visit http://andrewscomic.co.uk
"Andrew believed in setting goals and yes remarkably he achieved them all. There was never any big fanfare, no ballyhoo; Andrew made it happen in his own unassuming style. His last goal was his legacy, and what a legacy that is, the publication of a comic to support other young people to let them know that they are not alone, and having read Andrew's comic will be better armed to face the challenges such an illness brings. If you can help us to complete Andrew's journey by making a donation we would be truly grateful." Comic Project