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Family of dying man gives him a heavenly smile

Ray Stanton

@strichardshospice | Instagram

Anne-Laure Colin Anne-Laure Colin - published on 03/02/24

Ray Stanton was in hospice care with terminal cancer. His family wanted to give him a special moment, so knowing his love of airplanes, they hired a skywriter...

St. Richard’s Hospice in Worcester, England, was the scene of a touching gesture earlier this year. A pilot drew a smiley face in the January sky, in front of the amazed eyes of Ray Stanton, 66, who has incurable cancer. Ray is a former transportation engineer and has a passion for aircraft.

The smile was the feat of an aerobatic pilot, Rich Goodwin, reports the BBC. “This was such a special moment for everyone watching—and we feel privileged to have helped make it happen for Ray and his family,” said Mike Wilkerson, the hospice chief executive.

A wonderful memory

This extraordinary idea was the idea of Rich’s wife, Angela. With the help of the hospice staff, she organized an event that any aviation enthusiast would dream of. What a surprise for Ray when they wheeled him into the courtyard of St. Richard’s Hospice! He was able to enjoy this unique spectacle flanked by his wife and two children.

“To see the smile in the sky and then look at Ray’s smile was just fantastic,” said an emotional Angela Stanton. Many people commented on the hospice’s Instagram post about the event, some noting that they’d seen the smile in the sky from their workplace or while taking a walk. No doubt this memory will live long in the memory of all those who witnessed the creation of this colossal smile painted in the blue English sky.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by St Richard’s Hospice (@strichardshospice)

Loving the sick and dying

Gestures such as this show the kind of love and compassion that we are all called to show towards those who are sick or dying. Pope Francis, speaking about end-of-life issues, said:

It could be said that the categorical imperative is to never abandon the sick […] We are called to show love and closeness, recognizing the limits that we all share and showing our solidarity. Let each of us give love in his or her own way—as a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother or sister, a doctor or a nurse. But give it!

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