'All he wants to do is return to the Kingdom' - Appeal to help Irish man diagnosed with brain tumour in Canada
An appeal is underway to help an Irish man who was hospitalised with a brain tumour in February
Niall Hurley seemed fit and healthy before he collapsed in Calgary in mid-February, just days before he was due to return from Canada to Ireland after two years.
The 28-year-old, who is from Tralee in Co Kerry, was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to undergo a ten-hour operation.
The Irish community in Calgary is rallying around Niall and his family and an online fundraiser to support his treatment has already raised more than $16,600 (aprox €15,428) in just four days.
Deirdre Halferty, Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Calgary, organised the appeal with the The Irish Cultural Society and explained the terrible circumstances behind it.
Ms Halferty old Independent.ie: "I met his father Kevin in the Irish Centre here on St Patrick's Day and he explained that he had flown to Calgary with his wife Barbara as soon as they found out about Niall's collapse, they'd been by his bedside for seven weeks and he just needed to meet some other Irish people.
"When he explained the story we knew we had to help him out, there's a very strong Irish community here and what's happened to them is a terrible trauma.
"You can't help but imagine what if it was you or your son or brother, Niall's mother Barbara has said she would give anything to make him better, it's a long road ahead."
Deirdre, who is originally from Derry but has been living in Canada for 30 years, said that Niall showed no symptoms of being unwell before his collapse.
She said: "His family said he was fit and healthy, he worked as a carpenter and played GAA.
"He's coming along as well as can be expected but he cannot walk or speak much, he's said that all he wants is to return to the Kingdom."
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The money raised will be used to support Niall and his family throughout his treatment and when he's ready help him to travel home, although he will need to be accompanied by a doctor and a nurse on the journey.
Deirdre said: "They're hoping that he'll leave hospital next week but he won't be moved if there's any risk.
"His doctor has said it's lucky it happened to him when it did because he was due to fly home a few days later and if he collapsed on the plane it could have been a very different journey."
She also said that the Hurleys are "overwhelmed" by the public's generosity at this terrible time.
She said: "They're overwhelmed, they can't believe that complete strangers are giving money and sharing his story, it doesn't matter how much people are giving, they're just absolutely blown away that people want to help Niall."
His brother Ian also shared an update on the GoFundMe page about his progress, saying: "Niall's voice seems a little louder tonight. Also he is saying that his double vision is improving which is huge progress.
"Thanks everyone for all the continued support. It is unbelievably remarkable how the Irish community has pulled together for our family. Baby steps here at the hospital but any progress is a milestone. Thank you."