A family from Co. Wicklow are making a plea for financial aid in order to fly their critically ill son back to Ireland. On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, Ciaran Kelly, aged 32, suffered a cardiac arrest that cut off the oxygen supply to his a brain. The Irish immigrant, who now lives in Vancouver, is currently on life-support in a Canadian intensive care unit but without the legal status to stay in Canada themselves, his family wishes to bring him home.
With the cost of medical care in the ICU in Burnaby Hospital Vancouver currently coming in at $11,216 (€10,410) per day, Kelly’s parents have been forced to return home to Ireland without him but have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical costs.
“At present which is only day 5 has accumulated to $75,000 [$56,081 US]. As you can imagine the stress and worry of what is actually happening is unbearable for us and feels so terribly cruel,” the family said.
“Currently we have no status in Canada and we will be left with no other option but to return to Ireland
“Both the Irish and Canadian governments cannot assist us financially in anyway. Therefore, we are left with no other option but to appeal to the kindness and generosity of the public to help us bring Ciaran home.
“The funds that we hope to raise will be used solely to cover the costs of a medical aircraft to bring him back to Ireland which are in the region of €100,000 [$108,063].”
The GoFundMe page has currently received donations of €40,473 [$43,736].
In New York, another Irish family was struck by tragedy on St. Patrick’s Day when their 18-year-old lost his life after an accidental fall from a balcony.
Conor Donnelly, aged 18, from Pearl River, New York was attempting to climb from the fourth floor of a building to the third-floor balcony during an unofficial St. Patrick’s Day party in a frat house when he fell.
Donnelly, whose dad is from Tyrone and his mother from Galway, was a first-year student at Binghamton University.
While reports said that Donnelly was pledging a fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi at the time, his death is not believed to have been linked to the controversial tradition of “hazing” which determines which first years can gain entry to a house. Alcohol was identified as a “contributing factor” in his death following the post-mortem, Binghamton Police confirmed.
"Alpha Sigma Phi is very saddened to learn of the passing of Conor Donnelly, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” a statement from Alpha Sigma Phi said.
"While police have determined his death to be an accident, we will continue to provide our full cooperation during the ongoing investigation. Additionally, a senior Alpha Sigma Phi staff member is now in Binghamton to provide support to members after the loss of their friend."
The 18-year-old is survived by his parents Martin and Carmel, and his siblings Denise and Declan.