The sister of a Derry man battling kidney failure in an American hospital has said his family are just taking matters “hour by hour” at this stage.
Julieanne McKeever’s only sibling Paul - well known in the musical and theatre community in Derry - was admitted to hospital in California last week and has had surgery to allow kidney dialysis to commence.
The 53 year old has been a Type 1 Diabetic since he was 17 - which has further complicated his medical condition.
Julieanne has said the last week has been “very strange and very stressful” for the McKeever family but they have been overwhelmed by the support Paul has received from the people of Derry.
“Paul’s friends in the States just stepped into action - setting up the Go Fund Me page and offering us support.
“We’re a very private family, but his friends have just taken this on board and we can’t thank them enough.”
Julieanne said as it stands, the McKeever family have no idea what Paul’s final medical bill will be - and he still remains dangerously ill.
“Paul has insurance, but we don’t know what that will cover. Due to his diabetes he has always had to top up his own medical payments anyway. Medical costs in the States are something else - and while money isn’t important when it comes to your health, we know that Paul is facing a burden he can’t meet at the moment.”
Julieanne said she was given an idea of what costs may be incurred when her own son had to spend a day in the same hospital where Paul is being treated five years ago. Without staying overnight, and for simply receiving IV treatment, the bill came to $5000.
“It’s a very worrying time. Paul is very ill and we are so removed from him that it is hard on us all. We are a small family. There’s just Paul, myself, mum and dad and my son and we are very close. It’s very hard to be away from him at this time.”
Julieanne is currently making plans to travel to the States to be with her brother as soon as the hospital recommends she travel over. “I want to be there to help him recover, but of course my instinct is to travel over now.”
So far in excess of $45,000 dollars has been raised through the Just Fund Me page set up by Paul’s friends in the States. Julieanne said the entire McKeever family are completely “overwhelmed” by the generosity of people in Derry and further afield.
“Even people just lifting the phone, showing their concern, asking how they can help. It has been unbelievable. We can’t thank people enough.”
To support Paul, donations can be made online via http://www.gofundme.com/Paul