The organiser of a funding campaign to raise money for a seriously ill Derry man says she has been completely overwhelmed after a total of over $50,000 dollars was raised inside ten days.
Paul McKeever, originally from the Belmont area, took ill two weeks ago and is currently battling kidney failure.
He is now undergoing regular dialysis which has led to mounting medical bills and a loss of earnings for the popular Derry man who emigrated to California some years ago.
Icela Martin, who is a close friend of Paul said the Derry man has been completely overwhelmed by the amount of support shown to him since his illness was made public.
She also revealed that the Derry ex-pat, who is very well known in musical and theatre circles right across the North West, has been inundated by well wishes from home.
“Paul receives between 40-70 phone calls a day, the support is immense,” Ms. Martin told the Journal.
“Paul is up and down in terms of his health, one day he is grand and another he is set back feeling sick. He is staying with a lovely family and has dialysis three days a week for about three to four hours a day at a separate clinic.
“Improvements have been made but there is very slow progress. Paul really wants to thank all the people from Donegal, Tyrone, County Derry and especially Derry City who have donated to the campaign and helped out.”
Local people here were first alerted to Paul’s case via Facebook when appeals were made to donate to the fund set up to help him.
The 53-year-old had no understanding of how serious his health was until he drove himself to his local hospital just over two weeks ago.
After a period of feeling unwell he was admitted immediately and informed that he had kidney failure.
Since then friends and family at home and in America have pulled out all the stops to ensure that he is in a financial position to meet the medical bills for his care.
Some individual donations have amounted up to $10,000.
Local musical and theatre expert and Musical Director of Feis Dhoire Cholmcille Pat MacCafferty said Paul McKeever is extremely well thought of here.
“When he was at home, Paul was heavily involved with the feis and so well known and respected in musical circles here.
“He is just a lovely person and everyone involved here wants to send our very best wishes to him. Paul has a long association with music in Derry particularly through his involvement in the Christian Boys’ Choir and in the production of a number of local musicals and pantomimes. We all hope he will recover from this quickly and that he gets the help he needs in America,” he said.