by Louise Doyle
A MAJOR fundraising campaign has been launched to help a young father who has had his left arm amputated to save his life after twice being diagnosed with cancer.
The family of Lee McKinney, from Knockbrack, Glenmaquin, are spearheading a ‘GoFundMe’ campaign to help raise funds to enable him to receive a prosthetic arm, which costs in the region of €15,000 and €100,000 and is not funded by the Health Service Executive.
Lee, aged 29, received the devastating news he had a cancerous tumour in his arm. After an operation to remove the tumour, it was hoped life would return to normal for the father of one. However, a few weeks after his first operation, Lee’s worst fears were realised when he was told another tumour had appeared and the cancer was spreading up his arm. After another operation to remove that tumour and a part of a bone, doctors told Lee and his family that the operation was again unsuccessful. While surgeons tried to save his arm, he was told that the only way to save his life was to amputate his arm. He underwent the major operation in Dublin on July 29. He received the cancer all clear a few weeks ago.
Proud husband to Ann Marie and doting father to Hallie, Lee has remained resilient and upbeat.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Lee’s sister, Samantha McKinney, said while the turn of events have been difficult, her brother has been inspirational.
“It was a hard blow for him but Lee is still living his life and is so determined to not to let this get him down. He always says that there are so many other people less fortunate than him,” said Samantha.
“It was a huge shock, but Lee is doing great since. Lee is so positive by nature he is coming through it all so well.
“I remember ringing him that evening after his amputation to see how he was and he told me that he would be fine, his life was not over it was just taking a different direction.
“Anyone who knows Lee will tell you what a a cheerful, young, positive young man he is, always on hand to help anyone with anything at any time, and of course have the ‘craic’ and a joke along the way. Lee will say ‘My life isn’t over, it has just taken a different direction.’ This is typical of Lee, always seeing the best in every situation. His attitude and determination as he tries to live his life in a different way has been inspirational.”
Samantha said she now hopes though fundraising, Lee – who had worked at Foyle Meats – will be able to receive a prosthetic arm. A ‘GoFundMe’ page was set up in recent days, and, has raised more than €1,250 so far.
“Lee has had an appointment with a prosthetic specialist in Finglas in recent weeks. To have a prosthetic arm would cost in the region of €15,000 to €100,000. We have set up the page to help Lee get a prosthetic arm costing €15,000, or just slightly more.”
Samantha said Lee and her entire family have been overwhelmed by the response from the local community.
“A lot of people got in contact with the family when they heard about Lee to ask what they could do to help. In a lot of ways they are driving this fundraising campaign forward. Friends, neighbours and strangers have rallied together to support Lee, offering words of support and kind gestures.
“We don’t really know what the prosthetic arm procedure will entail yet, but we want to make sure we can get Lee the best spec. This has been really hard for Lee to accept, but he has done it and he is really positive. He’s so grateful for all the help and support and good wishes he has received from everyone.”
As well as the ‘GoFundMe’ page, a fundraising event, ‘The Kube’ is also being organised. It will take place in the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny on Friday, October 27, at 8pm.
Samantha encouraged anyone wishing to take part to get in touch.
“We’re hoping for 60 contestants to take part in ‘The Kube’ and we have 44 people signed up already. If anyone wants to take part, please get in touch with me on 0863251379 before October 20.
“We are looking for participants or sponsors at €100 per participant, with a € 1,000 prize for the overall winner.
“Admission will be €10 on the night and people can pay at the door, which opens at 7pm.”
Samantha added: “I would just like to say a huge thank you on behalf of Lee, his wife and entire family for all the support. We have been overwhelmed.”
For more information see www.gofundme/lee-mckinney-prosthetic-arm-fund
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Posted: 11:00 am September 30, 2017