Rocco is ‘an inspiration to us all:’ Fundraiser launched to support local teenager diagnosed with brain tumour

A campaign has been launched to help fund vital treatment for a ‘funny, loving’ Buncrana teenager, diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening brain tumour.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:52 pm
Rocco McGinley.

In the summer of last year, 14-year-old Rocco McGinley began to present with symptoms such as blurred vision, unsteady gait and loss of power.

His GP recommended an MRI, which, in October confirmed the ‘worst fears’ of his parents, Wade and Yvonne. The Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana student was diagnosed with a ‘particularly aggressive’ brain tumour, which is difficult to treat and impacts many major brain functions.

Rocco’s aunt, Audrey Gallagher, told how her nephew has had ‘fantastic care and support from the staff in Letterkenny University Hospital, Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Temple Street and St Lukes Hospital.’

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Rocco, with his mother Yvonne and brother, Cooper.

He has received radium, been biopsied and has had a shunt inserted, ‘all of which have helped to alleviate symptoms and will temporarily regress the tumour’s growth.’

The proud auntie added how Rocco has undergone all of these invasive procedures and his treatment to date ‘in his normal brave and courageous manner and without a day’s complaint’

“He is an inspiration to us all and such a fighter.”

She added how there are various clinical trials, which have had some success, and are specifically designed to treat Rocco’s’ diagnosed tumour.

Rocco is a student at Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana.

Rocco’s case has been reviewed by several leading hospitals and he has been accepted for treatment. However, as these are outside of Ireland, it will cost a significant amount of money. Audrey, along with Rocco’s other aunt Marcella Hegarty, cousin Anna McGinley and his parents’ close friend Aisling Doherty, have set up a GoFundMe page in an effort to help him get the essential treatment he needs in America. Audrey highlighted how there are also many others on both sides of the family and in the community, who are working hard ‘behind the scenes’ on fundraising and sharing Rocco’s campaign. To date, over 100,000euro of the 280,000 euro target has been raised in just days. A Facebook page called Rocco’s Road to Recovery has also been set up.

The campaign itself was kicked of with a fantastically supported draw organised by his cousin, Amy Hegarty, with help from her sister, Nicole. Audrey said they have been ‘extremely overwhelmed with peoples generosity and their willingness to help in any way.’

“From the smallest to largest donation we are eternally grateful. The people who aren’t in a position to donate but who share his journey in a bid to further the reach of Rocco’s campaign with others are also as important to us.”

Audrey described Rocco, an avid Manchester United and Ronaldo fan, ‘like any other teenager and enjoys hanging with his mates,playing football, listening to music and playing the PlayStation.’

Rocco pictured with his parents and grandparents.

He has been involved over the years in many different clubs and societies, including Illies Boxing Club and he is also a member of Buncrana Hearts Football Club.

“He’s the most funny, loving, gentle and kindest soul and would brighten any room when he enters,” said Audrey. “Rocco has so much support behind him, we have been inundated with offers of help from close friends and family and also from people in his local community. We are amazed with the amount of strangers and good hearted people offering to help in any way and to help set up fundraisers or to share his journey. Rocco and his family are totally overwhelmed by the amount of support and would like to thank everyone from the bottom of their hearts for all their support and prayers.”