Throughout his young life, Matthew Gallagher and his parents always told each other, “I love you to the moon and back.”
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Sadly, the Lakeland, Florida 11-year-old passed away unexpectedly in May 2022. Now his parents are honoring their son’s passion for space travel and aircrafts in an unusual, yet incredibly fitting, way. They’re sending him to space.
Matthew’s father, Scott Gallagher, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, so the family used to move around a lot. Wherever they lived, Matthew made new friends easily and always extended the hand of friendship to those who usually fell between the cracks.
“He was a go-getter kid,” said his mom, Cori Gallagher. “He had an outstanding personality – one that anybody could get along with.”
From a young age, Matthew was passionate about flying. He talked about becoming an astronaut constantly, and he memorized information about space travel and aircraft that he’d rattle off to anyone who’d listen. He was particularly interested in Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX missions.
After his untimely passing, Cori and Scott searched for a suitable way to honor Matthew’s memory. That’s when someone told them about Celestis Memorial Spaceflights, a program that allows people to send a portion of cremated remains on the Destiny Flight to the moon, where they’ll buried on the lunar surface. The family knew right away that this is what Matthew would have wanted. They started a GoFundMe to raise the funds.
“We’d always say, “I love you to the moon and back,” and so we chose the lunar flight,” said Cori. “So that way, every time anybody who knew Matthew contributed, wanted to contribute…looks at the moon, would know that he’s up there. And they were a big part of making Matthew’s final mission and his one dream that he had come true.”
The fundraiser was a success, and the Gallaghers raised over $16,000 to cover the fee! The next step will be to watch the Destiny Flight blast off sometime in 2023. After that, they can look up at the moon and know their son’s final wish came true.
“I just know that he would have a grin from ear to ear, and it would never go away because he would get to do something that he always wanted to do,” said Cori.
It’s always devastating when someone so young passes away, but this family has found the sweetest way to pay tribute to him. So many people who knew him will think of him when they look at the moon. In that way, his memory will live on forever.
Share this story to send his family comfort and to help remember the boy who always wanted to go to the moon.
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