The family of a talented young football who took his own life last month have thrown their support behind a Lurgan man who plans to run the Belfast Half Marathon in his memory to raise funds for a mental health charity.
Jerry Thompson, who was a player at Carrick Rangers but had links with several clubs in Northern Ireland, was found dead on December 10 last year, aged just 24.
And now Lurgan man, Kevin Haughian, along with one of Jerry’s best friends, Dee Fearon, have started fundraising for Aware NI and will seek to complete their half marathon mission on September 20.
The pair are hoping to raise £1,000 each for the charity.
“I have completed a few runs for charity before but when I heard about what happened with Jerry I contacted the family and said, with their permission, I’d like to run in his memory," said Keith.
“They agreed and have been incredibly supportive of what I’m trying to do and one of Jerry’s best friends, Dee, has come forward to run the half marathon with me.
“I’m still hoping to get a few more involved.”
He continued: "I asked Jerry’s mother, Leigh, if she would like to pick the charity of her choice, which she did, and she has promised to support the effort as much as she can.
"The whole Thompson family is right behind this, and we’re hoping to get a quite a few pulling on their running shoes to take part and raise as much in his memory as possible to support other people who may be suffering from mental health problems.
“Jerry’s club, Carrick Rangers, have also committed to supporting the effort and we’ll be getting special t-shirts made to run in, all of which I hope can raise the profile of mental health charities in Northern Ireland and the fantastic work they do.”
Last week Health Minister Robin Swann announced the establishment of an Executive working group on mental wellbeing and resilience at Stormont in a bid to tackle the ongoing crisis.
To support the fundraising campaign for Aware NI, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kevin-haughian13