Despite the devastation over their loss, the family of Nathan Christy are determined his death will not be in vain.
Heartbroken friends and relatives have pledged that the name of the “popular, amazing and kind-hearted” young man, will live on through their #keepsmiling campaign to raise funds for the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm).
Nathan, 25, who lived in Beech Hill, took his own life last month and his funeral earlier this month was attended by hundreds of people.
Nathan’s mum Noreen explained the family’s resilience. She said: “We have to be positive, there’s no use in us being glum. People have come up to me saying how distraught they are, because of his kind nature he’d helped them out with all sorts of things. He was such an amazing person.”
Cousin Natasha Calder said: “We’re all just devastated, we don’t think words can capture how we’ve felt the last couple of weeks. But it has been comforting seeing the tributes, seeing how many people loved him. It is comforting to know how many people know about him. It has been overwhelming.”
Cousin Nicola Horrigan said: “He was a very smiley person, very upbeat and his motto was always ‘keep smiling’. You would look at him and never think something was going on behind the scenes. For someone like him, such a positive character to be affected like this and then for this to happen, it just shows.
“It’s tragic what has happened but what we’re trying to do is turn this tragedy into something that’s positive. If we can we prevent one family, one set of friends going through what we have.
“If we can prevent one funeral like the one we’ve all just experienced by raising some money to support this campaign, even if it’s just one person, that’s what we’re trying to achieve.
“We’re taking advantage of how many people knew and loved our Nathan. I know everyone is sad but we can make a change by not just being sad, everyone is entitled to feel that way, but donate and make a change in somebody’s life and make a difference for Nathan.
“If we’d have had that (knowledge of the work Calm does) could it have made a difference for our Nathan?
“We don’t know. We didn’t know about this charity before. Sometimes people don’t want to talk to friends and family and those trained people are there to help.
“Women lean on their friends and their family because they’re at ease with their emotions. Men aren’t.”
The #keepsmiling campaign has now been shared thousands of times worldwide and a number of fund-raising events are planned.
Nathan’s brother Martin and sister Emma are taking part in a sky-dive later in the year and there will be a group of relatives and friends running in his memory at the Wigan 10k.
There will also be a charity rugby match featuring Nathan’s former teams St Pat’s and Ince Rose Bridge held at the latter on September 11 at 3pm, the same weekend as National Suicide Awareness Day.
To donate to Calm in Nathan’s memory please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nathan-Christy or text NTHN52 plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070.