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Marie Curie Helper volunteer urges people to vote

Published: Mon, 27 Jul 2015
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Danny Magill and Michael Rugman, visiting the Tall Ships when they arrived in Belfast recently. Michael passed away last week. Photo: Courtesy of Bill Smyth, Irish News.
Michael Rugman
A tribute to his late friend
A staff member has urged people to support the Marie Curie Helper Service’s bid to win a National Lottery Award in tribute to his close friend, who sadly lost his battle with cancer last week.
Danny Magill is hoping that people will get behind the campaign after he volunteered to be a helper 19 months ago and struck up a friendship with Michael Rugman, who had been battling bowel cancer for the past five years.
52 year old Michael died on Monday with Danny by his side.
Danny got involved with the service after it was advertised through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at work.
The Helper Service has now reached the final of the National Lottery Awards 2015 and voting closes on Wednesday, July 29th. The service can win a £2000 cash prize to support the project.
Danny told us:
“When I was first approached by the manager of the helper service, she said she had the perfect partner for me and that was Michael. So we arranged to call with him. That was 19 months ago.
“When I got speaking to Michael for a while we clicked right away. He made me so relaxed and I knew then that partnership would work and we became close friends.
“As part of the helper service, I called to Michael’s house for three hours every week. All we did was talk about football, how he was doing and general news. We always went for lunch.
“We were then asked if we would promote the helper service and Michael being the true gentleman that he was said yes. Michael just wanted to help others with cancer and let them know there was help out there.
“Volunteering for the Marie Curie helper service is one of the best decisions I have made. I have made friends with so many lovely people. Last year Michael and I did the Text Santa Appeal at Christmas in London having been chosen to represent the whole of the UK. Michael’s story was heart breaking. He helped to raise over £1million for the Marie Curie Helper Service so other people with cancer can receive help. I was so proud of him.
“Whilst we were in London I arranged a trip to West Ham United. The club was great, they arranged for Michael to meet the players and have his photos taken on the pitch before the game. He just loved that.”
Last week, Danny received a call from Michael’s mother to say Michael was in the hospital and wanted to see Danny. Four hours later, Michael passed away with his family and Danny by his side.
Danny says: “I will never forget him, he has left a mark on me that I will forever cherish. I was so lucky that I was paired with such a special person. Michael loved to talk and he could talk! I was so proud of him the way he conducted himself, always a perfect gentleman. Those three hours every week formed a special friendship and one I will miss greatly.
“So, in memory of Michael, I would ask that people please vote for the Marie Curie Helper service and ask your friends to do the same so that other people, those with cancer and those who want to help, can find a friendship just as special.”
Voting is easy. Visit the awards website and select the Volunteer section or call 0844 836 9716. Remember, voting closes on July 29th 2015 so please take a moment and vote now.