A campaign to fund life-saving treatment for Portglenone man Kevin Carey has smashed its target, with the extra money raised to go towards brain tumour research.
But his family is now urging people to support another local man, Robbie Ryan, 47, from Ballinderry, in his fundraising efforts for the same treatment.
Robbie was diagnosed with a Grade 4 Glioblastoma brain tumour last year and requires the same pioneering immunotherapy treatment that Kevin will hopefully undergo this week in London.
The treatment is only available privately however, and costs £205,000, which is why Kevin’s ‘gofundme’ page was set up to raise this amount.
Kevin was given just three months to live in July, after a year of treatment to rid him of a Grade 4 brain tumour failed.
In just five days however, almost 7,000 people had donated more than enough to cover the cost, with the total on Tuesday (August 16) at £229,871 and still growing. The treatment, which trains the immune system to find and attack brain cancer cells, is the last resort for Kevin, 35, an ex-GAA player and a civil engineer.
Having already undergone radio- chemotherapy, full-strength chemotherapy and painful ‘local anaesthetic’ brain surgery, Kevin has exhausted every other avenue to remove the cancer, which he was diagnosed with in July 2015.
Having now exceeded their fundraising target, Kevin and his wife Natasha are keen to use the additional money to fund further research into brain tumours.
They also want to help Mr Ryan from Ballinderry, whose ‘gofundme’ page is called ‘Immunotherapy for Robbie’.
So far on his journey Robbie, has also been through surgery, chemo and radium treatment, but the tumour returned more aggressive and is now covering a larger area of the brain.
Kevin’s younger brother, Paddy, told the Mail: “We want to help Robbie and his wife out with their fundraising. I know Kevin and Natasha want to help them out as much as possible.” He added that Kevin would hopefully begin his immunotherapy treatment this week, as doctors were pleased with his progress. “Yesterday (Monday), they met the team of doctors and they were happy with the way the wound is healing,” he said. “They took out several stitches – I think there’s just three left.
“The wound has to be completely healed before they start the immunotherapy treatment, but they’re very happy with it so far. We’re all at home at the minute but my parents have been over to see Kevin. The family are totally overwhelmed by the support. Everyone – the whole community in Portglenone and elsewhere – has been great.”
While some of the Carey family, including Paddy, live in Portglenone, their extended family is spread across Derry, other parts of Antrim and Belfast - while he worked at Clonoe’s Geda Construction.
If you would like to donate to either Kevin or Robbie, then please visit their gofundme pages below.
Immunotherapy for Robbie: https://www.gofundme.com/22hxe5g
Kevin’s Fight Against Brain Tumour: https://www.gofundme.com/KevinCarey