Northern Ireland news

Fundraising effort launched to bring home west Belfast woman who suffered two strokes in Portugal

Marti Gorman, from west Belfast, pictured at a family wedding in Portugal on August 1, the day before she suffered two strokes and was admitted to ICU in a hospital in Faro
Marie Louise McConville

A FUNDRAISING effort is underway to bring home a woman who was left fighting for her life after falling ill in Portugal.

Marti Gorman (48) from the Falls Road, was in the Algarve with family and friends when she became unwell.

The mother-of-two, who works as a theatre technician at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, attended a wedding on August 1.

Despite suffering from a headache, she enjoyed the event, but became ill the next day at the villa where she was staying.

Taken by ambulance to hospital in Faro, a CT scan revealed she suffered two strokes, which have affected the left hand side of her body. She was admitted to ICU in a critical condition and, on advice of medics, her elderly parents and two sons made the trip to Portugal last Friday.

While her condition improved over the weekend, she is "not out of the woods yet".

The medical team has advised Ms Gorman's loved ones that it will be at least three weeks before she can leave hospital and even then, she must be flown home by a specialist air ambulance, accompanied by a full medical team. The family have been told this will cost between £35,000 and £40,000.

Yesterday, Laura Gorman launched a GoFundMe page to help raise the money to bring her cousin home when she is well enough. So far, more than £9,000 has been raised.

Speaking to The Irish News last night, Laura said Marti "is the most caring person I have ever met".

The Andersonstown woman, who was the mother of the bride, said what had happened had been a "complete nightmare".

"I don't feel like this is real. The wedding was absolutely fantastic but Marti had a headache and she wasn't drinking or anything," she said.

"They said she is a bull. They said she is a miracle. She is a very strong woman. They said this type of stroke only happens in elderly people. They are saying she is going to need rehabilitation. We are relieved she is talking but we need her back on Irish soil. She is out of ICU and in high dependency. I want her home to be with her family.

"Her mother and father are pensioners. They don't have that sort of money. Her family are donating but they don't have that money. Her father was saying he could get a bank loan. He's not well at the moment. I want her home, just in case anything would happen. She's not out of the woods yet."

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