Grieving relatives of a schoolboy who died aged 11 are planning to send his ashes to the moon in a bid to fulfil his ambition of travelling to space.
Matthew Gallagher dreamed of becoming an astronaut and was fascinated with the solar system and constellations in the night sky.
Matthew’s family, who live in Florida, hope to honour his memory by arranging for his ashes to be sent into space after he died unexpectedly as his parents slept on 18 May.
His cremated remains are due to travel on the Destiny Flight to the moon, expected to launch in 2023, the New York Post reported.
It is hoped his ashes will be buried on the surface so his loved ones can remember him every time they see the moon.
Matthew was described as a “kind-hearted soul” who “deeply touched countless others during his short earthly life” on a GoFundMe page launched by his family to pay for a memorial space mission.
The page was set up by his parents, Scott and Cori Gallagher, who hailed his “zestful and playful approach to life”.
“To know Matthew was one of God’s great blessings and one couldn’t help but to love him,’ his father, a US Marine, shared.
“Matthew was happiest when wearing his superhero costumes, video games with his sister and friends, working on projects with his dad, and cuddling his mom.
“Matthew loved anime, outer space, dirt-biking, hockey, baseball, Spider-Man, and playing outside.
“Matthew was a bright young boy.
“His biggest dream was to become an astronaut and travel to outer space.”
The family hope to be present for the launch of Matthew’s space mission and has so far raised almost $12,000 of their $14,000 goal.
Matthew’s parents later added a couple of pictures of their son to the fundraising page, posting: “We just wanted to share the sweet face that you will be helping to send to the moon.”
The 11-year-old, who was born at a Marine Corps base in California, leaves behind a sister, Savannah, together with many relatives and friends.
“He will be sorrowfully missed by all who knew him”, Mr Gallagher added.