Friend sets up fundraiser to help family of Portadown man Aaron O'Neill after his sudden death aged 36
Johnmichael McCann said he was privileged to have been one of Aaron’s closest friends and wanted to help his family at this very sad time.
Aaron died suddenly just a few weeks ago after he had been out for a run. Hundreds packed St John the Baptist’s church in Portadown to pay tribute to the serving soldier in the Irish Army and to support his wife Becky and three young children.
At his funeral Parish Priest Father Michael Sheehan told the congregation that Aaron had ‘a heart of gold’ and would never see anyone stuck. He said: "Aaron can only be described as a real genuine person and gentleman, with a bright smile and a great sense of humour, full of life, very friendly and had great confidence and belief.”
Aaron was a popular figure in Portadown and beyond, known for his cross community work but most particularly for his charity work, and was a huge supporter of the Clodagh Daly Trust, fundraising when he could to help the young girl who suffers from cancer.
Johnmichael has set up a GoFundMe page to help Aaron’s widow and three children as they come to terms with his passing just weeks before Christmas.
Already it has reached £7,555 of its £10k goal.
Johnmichael said: “My best friend Aaron O’Neill was cruelly taken from us suddenly on the 12th of October 2022. Leaving behind his wife Becky and 3 daughters, 1 baby, a toddler and a teen, as well as mother, sisters and wider family circle.
"We can never fill the void Aaron has left behind, or take away the pain and sorrow that is stuck with us all. But we can try and help to make this Christmas an extra bit special and easier for Becky and the girls,” he said, adding that no one including Becky and the family had asked him to do this.
Johnmichael revealed he had taken a poll among many of Aaron’s friends and they all agreed that it would be a good idea to set up the GoFundMe page.
He said: “Aaron would be in his element organising something like this and the first in to help out.
"I’m here to carry this out on behalf of the greatest, kindest, most caring person I know. (Aaron O’Neill) He would do it for anyone, never mind a best friend.
"He did things like this his whole life raising thousands of pounds for various charities, one of which being the Clodagh Daly Trust fund. The man’s charity work was endless.
"I don’t want to upset anyone or embarrass anyone by doing this. Just look at it as – “A little help from friends”
"If Aaron could send a message from heaven to me, it would be- “Look after my wife and kids and do all you can to be sure they are safe and ok.”