Saturday 3 December 2016

'We’re overwhelmed by the support' – Family of Irishman fighting for life in Guatemala

Published 25/10/2016 | 14:33

Peter McGarry
Peter McGarry

The family of an Irishman fighting for life in a Guatemalan hospital after a brain haemorrhage have appealed for help to fund his treatment.

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Peter McGarry, from Dunmurry in Belfast, suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage  at his home in Jocotenango, Sacatepequez on Friday October 14.

Mr McGarry’s parents, Sean and Helen, and two sisters, Louise May and Joanne McGoran, have since set up a Just Giving page in a bid to raise the £50,000 (€56,105) needed for his life-saving treatment.

A statement on the family’s fundraising page says: “Advice from a consultant neurosurgeon in the UK who has seen his MRI results is that 'the aneurysm needs repaired, 50% chance of rebleed within 30 days with 80% mortality'.”

Speaking to independent.ie, his sister Louise May said: “He’s in intensive care at the moment, undergoing tests to see when he’ll be able to have surgery. We’re hoping he’ll be able to have surgery early next week, but every test carries a risk of a rebleed.”

“He’s in a much better place than he was last week, but of course it’s still hugely upsetting to have him in this situation,” she continued.

The family had to spend some of the funds raised to move Peter to a bigger hospital last Friday, since he was initially placed in a local hospital not equipped to deal with his injuries and described as ‘barbaric’ by the founder of Guatemala Medical Travel.

He did not eat while there, but has been eating better since being moved. His partner, Elvira Mendez, has been able to visit him more since being moved, which is helping with the short-term memory loss and distress caused by his condition.

Since launching the appeal, the family have managed to raise over £30,000 (€33,644) and have received dozens of supportive messages from friends and extended family.

A post from a friend on the Just Giving fundraising page describes Peter as “a rare, beautiful man who will surprise us all by how well he gets through this”.

Louise May said: “We’re overwhelmed with the support we’ve received from family and friends, and even total strangers.”

Peter has been living in Guatemala for two years, and has not seen his family since moving over. The hope is that if his surgery is successful, he will be able to return to Ireland for further treatment.

“Of course we missed him anyway; for this to happen while he’s away is so difficult,” Louise May said.

To assist Peter’s family, go to their fundraising page here

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