Family's funding plea as Portglenone man Kevin Carey fights brain tumour
THE wife of an ex-GAA player has made an emotional fundraising plea to help her husband battle a brain tumour after being told he may have only months to live.
Kevin Carey (35), from Portglenone, was diagnosed with a terminal tumour that wrapped around major arteries and made its way higher into his brain.
His last hope is pioneering immunotherapy treatment – but it is only available privately at a cost of more than £200,000.
An overnight fundraising effort launched online has already raised more than £50,000 towards the cost of the treatment.
Mr Carey's wife Natasha said they were told a fortnight ago that he had a "three-month life expectancy, even with more chemotherapy".
"Kevin had to make a rapid decision to choose whether or not to undergo risky specialist neurosurgery away from home in London to try again to remove the bulk of the tumour," she said.
"He is the bravest, most fearless man I know and replied to the three-month life expectancy news with, 'I won't be beaten, I want to fight'.
"We got on the next flight to London, where Kevin had fully awake, local anaesthetic, brain surgery, which lasted a gruelling five hours. His head was put in a metal clamp and a saw was used to open the skull.
"They gave him a few sedatives to calm his nerves and that was it. The surgery was a horrific experience for Kevin.
"One experienced neurosurgeon said it was one of the hardest things she has ever had to witness. Kevin has taught them, and me, what strength really means."
The neurosurgeons managed to remove almost 97 per cent of the tumour. But the remainder is still aggressive, and immunotherapy treatment is needed in London to try to halt its growth.
Mrs Carey explained: "Immunotherapy teaches the immune system to find and attack the brain cancer cells, however, it is only available privately and will cost £205,000.
"We are putting all our personal finances, every penny we have, into funding this treatment, plus travelling back and forth to London, but we can't meet it alone."
Mr Carey is a civil engineer and Portglenone GAA member who played from underage through to senior level.
He was diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive grade-four terminal brain tumour – after taking ill and suffering several seizures in July last year.
Mr Carey underwent treatment involving major brain surgery in September last year followed by chemotherapy.
But a year to the day since he was first diagnosed, he was given the heartbreaking news that the treatment hadn't worked.
"To our devastation, the tumour had resisted all treatment. It had become active again. Growing so aggressively it had wrapped itself around major brain arteries, making it's way higher up into Kevin's brain," Mrs Carey said.
She described her husband as "wonderful, kind, funny and thoughtful" and said she was "the lucky one" to marry him four years ago.
"I want Kevin to know he is not alone in this fight for his life. Please help Kevin fight this brain tumour in anyway you can. We really need your help," she said.
:: Visit the fundraising page https://www.gofundme.com/2qctufh8 to make a donation.