Cancer patient Charles Polson's gratitude as £20k raised to pay for return to Northern Ireland
A terminally ill father-of-four has returned home to Co Down following an "overwhelming" online crowdfunding campaign.
Islanders in Jersey rallied behind Charles Polson after he was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks ago in order to help him cover the £10,000 cost of chartering a medical flight.
Donna Vibert, who started the JustGiving campaign, said Charles and his wife Joanne are extremely grateful for all the support they have received.
"He's back in Ulster," she said. "They are completely staggered by the level of love and generosity which has been poured out; it's just overwhelming."
Charles, who has lived on the Channel Islands with his family for the past seven years, returned home on Saturday with his wife and their youngest son, Connor (18). "The other boys are packing up the family home and will return to Northern Ireland on Tuesday," Donna said.
The mum-of-two doubled the fundraising target after it exceeded its initial £10,000 goal within just 24 hours. But it has now surpassed £20,000 and will remain live until June 6 in order to raise as much money as possible to help the family relocate.
But the success of the online campaign has been bittersweet for Donna who formed a strong bond with the "incredibly supportive" couple after her son Nathan (19) lost his life in a motorbike accident two years ago.
The teenager had been a close friend of Charles and Joanne's son, Andrew (22).
"I spent time with them before they left, to say goodbye," Donna said.
Senior mental health nurse Charles was given the devastating cancer diagnosis just 18 months after Joanne, who also worked as a mental health nurse, was diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
Also a volunteer clinical governance officer at St John's Ambulance Jersey, Charles took to social media before he flew home to express his gratitude to the charity's separate fundraising efforts, saying: "Thank you one and all."