TWO kind-hearted people from South Tyneside have helped make the dreams of a terminally-ill man come true.
Kristofer McCullagh and Davy Carr had cancer sufferer Greg Lamb reaching for the sky.
Since Greg Lamb was told his cancer of the oesophagus was terminal, he has been determined to complete a bucket list of
challenges before he becomes too ill.
His activities to raise funds for various charities have so far included a zip slide, a bungee jump – and a skydive is also being planned.
Today, he will join his friends on an 84-mile trek along Hadrian’s Wall in aid of CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity but, as well as challenges to help others, the 35-year-old also listed a number of experiences he has always wanted to do for himself.
His inspiring story, in the Gazette, touched the hearts of two South Tyneside men who stepped forward and help make two of his dream experiences come true – taking a helicopter ride and flying in a bi-plane.
Father-of-two Kristofer McCullagh handed Greg a voucher for a helicopter ride, with Northumbria Helicopters, which took him on a tour of some of the North East’s landmarks, while Davy Carr provided a flight in a World War II Tiger Moth at Netherthorpe Airfield, in Yorkshire, with Blue Eye Aviation.
Mr Lamb, of Front Street, East Boldon, says he has been left “overwhelmed” by the generosity shown by the two strangers.
“Both the flight experiences were brilliant. They are both something I really wanted to do but, if I’m honest, don’t think I would have got round to but for the generosity of two complete strangers.
“When I was told these fellas had come forward after reading my story, I was just in shock.
“The whole point in telling my story was to try and encourage people to look after themselves.
“I didn’t think for one minute people would help me achieve two of the experiences on my list.
“It’s just nice to know there are still nice people out there. I had a great time on both flights.
“When I got to the airfield for the plane flight, the guys down there were brilliant and really put me at ease. They even let me fly it for a while, which was amazing.
“I really can’t thank Kristofer and Davy enough or express how much it means to me that two complete strangers came forward to help me achieve something I’d always wanted to do.”
Mr McCullagh said: “When I read Greg’s story on-line it just hit me. I was planning on buying a house and living life at
100mph and I just thought ‘wow I’m
stressing out about my life and this lad’s planning the last things in his.”
“Setting the flight up and him doing it felt amazing and makes you realise that for people in Greg’s position, there is more to life than stressing about the general things.”
Mr Carr, who lost his wife Joanne last year after a donor liver could not be found in time, said: “After reading about Greg and what he was doing despite his illness, I just felt compelled to do something to help him achieve one of his dreams.
“I can’t imagine how he must be feeling but what he is doing is inspiring. I also know that, if Joanne had still been here, it would have been something she would have wanted to help him achieve.
“By doing this for him, it is helping me in a way. I’m over the moon he has done it.”
Despite his illness, Mr Lamb hopes his story will encourage other people to seek medical help before it’s too late. He was told an earlier visit to the doctor may have prevented his condition.
Unknown to him, he had been suffering from a condition called Barrett’s oesophagus, which can lead to cancer if not detected and monitored early.
He says he was devastated after being diagnosed with cancer in September 2012.
n To sponsor Mr Lamb on his charity trek, visit www.justgiving.com/4coast2coast/
He has organised a charity cinema screening of film 50/50 – a romantic comedy film about one man’s cancer fight – at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, South Shields, on Sunday, July 6.
The event, which will also include a quiz, raffle and live music, will raise funds for South Tyneside-based charity Cancer Connections.
For tickets, call the box office on 454 1234.