The family of Irishman Ronan Winters, who is dying of cancer in the US, have met their target of raising $100,000 in just three days.
An online campaign, started by friends and family this week, to generate funds for the 47-year-old from Blackrock’s medical expenses, went viral with donations flooding in from Ireland and America.
Over $20,000 was raised in the past 24 hours after social media sites in Ireland took on the cause of the dad of two from Blackrock in Co Dublin.
Ronan was diagnosed on December 23rd last with stage four esophageal cancer. The cancer spread in weeks to many vital organs, and two months later he suffered a stroke that left him unable to talk or eat.
Last year, believing he was heatlhy, Ronan decided to cancel the life insurance policy he had been paying into for 15 years and to concentrate on bolstering a college fund for his two teenage daughters.
Ronan who was born in Belfast and moved to South Dublin as a boy, graduated from Blackrock college in 1985, he worked as a salesman in the developing technology industry in Dublin, before moving to London in the late 80s and then America’s west coast, where he worked for one of the first internet search engines.
Writing in a Blackrock College past pupils’ book in 2006, Ronan tells how he made his fortune in 1997 with the fastest public stock offering in American history.
“Not long after I literally lost everything in the stock market crash of 2000. It was fantastic while it lasted, I’m on my way back and currently involved in another technology start-up. My wife Diane has kept me grounded through it all and we are blessed with two beautiful daughters,” he wrote.
His wife Diane contacted independent.ie to express the family’s gratitude to people who have reached out to them: “We are so grateful that friends and family are supportive and showing their love and reaching out to us. Even people he was friends with ages ago have wonderful memories of the "love of life" my husband shared with them. We are blessed to have found each other and to have had two wonderful girls. Ronan is my soulmate, my strength, and I his. I will be strong for him now and continue raising our girls to be as strong, kind and loving as he is.”
His friends from Dublin have been sharing messages with him on Facebook in recent days.
“Thinking of you specially. Remembering great times in 'Rock….and some of those crazy teachers….good laughs!” wrote one friend.
Another friend posted : “My earliest memory of Ronan was camping the night in his back garden in Dublin in the 1980's...why did we do that?...simply because because it was fun.”
A friend in Rathcoole shares: “Ronan I am so sorry to hear your sad news and the two of us only talking a few months ago about our great, great days on the river Shannon what great childhood memories we had.”
A friend Ciaran writes: “ I am thinking of you with fond memories right now. I can't hear your name without thinking of you flying around Blackrock on your imaginary Vespa or hear your infectious laugh and enjoying your surreal humour.”
Ronan and his family enjoyed a trip home to Ireland last year for The Gathering where he brought his family to the Ritz at Powerscourt and shared photos of his time back home.
He also enjoyed bringing some of Ireland to America, sharing photos of a peat fire in his California home with the caption:.” Ireland can be delivered to your doorstep. Peat briquettes from Bord Na Mona. Where's the love button?”