FAMILY PHOTO Kieran Cawley is pictured with his wife Marcella and son Caolán. Pic: GoFundMe
A MUCH-loved member of the Mayo sporting community has been blown away by the response to a fundraiser aimed at helping him get the treatment he needs to defeat a rare form of cancer.
Kieran Cawley from Crossmolina is well known for his involvement in and love of GAA, rugby and soccer, and sportspeople from far and wide have banded together to work hard to raise enough funds to get him the treatment required.
Kieran’s family launched a GoFundMe page last week in an attempt to obtain treatment abroad and in just a few days more than €166,000 has been gathered. The goal of €250,000 is now within reach and the Cawleys have been hugely encouraged by the generosity of the public.
“We are absolutely blown away by the response. Humanity really is the best religion. The money raised, the reaching out with help, information and well wishes has given oxygen to Kieran’s fight.
The feeling of not being alone in this is of great comfort and from the bottom of our hearts we thank you all and we will never forget what you are doing for us,” Kieran’s brother, Charlie stated.
Kieran’s battle began last August when he was refereeing a GAA match and felt a pain in his side. He sought medical attention and after initially being told he was suffering from gall-stones Kieran was diagnosed with Cholangio Carcinoma - cancer of the bile duct at an advanced stage.
This type of cancer is very rare and affects approximately 140 people in Ireland annually, usually people over the age of 65.
Chemotherapy commenced in September, but in November it was discovered that the treatment was not working. Treatment options in Ireland are limited, so the family have now reached out to other specialists around the world.
Kieran is passionate about his family, wife Marcella and young son Caolán, his community and sport. He is a football and rugby referee and his positive impact on young players has been remarked upon in recent days.
In his youth he played football with Crossmolina, soccer with Kilmurry and rugby with Ballina and made life-long friendships everywhere he went. When he left home he continued his rugby career with Coolmine RFC and Creggs before moving abroad and playing with Boston Irish Wolfhounds and Second City Troop RFC in Philadelphia.
Kieran is an avid Mayo fan and also wears his heart on his sleeve for the Connacht and Irish rugby teams, Celtic and Manchester United.
Since the GoFundMe page was launched by the Cawley family, many local sporting clubs have been promoting the fundraiser, including Ballina Rugby Club where chairman Alan Rowe says everyone is behind the former prop.
“Kieran is well known here in Heffernan Park. He made a great impact when he played with the club and he never forgot us when he left. He regularly came back to play in Aubrey Bourke Cup matches on St Stephen’s Day and his smile was always the first thing you noticed even on those cold winter days.
“Last year, he was back here again at the club refereeing an U14 Girls match between ourselves and Claremorris and the girls still talk about his performance that day. He handled the game brilliantly and helped both sides enjoy the game even more than usual.
“Kieran was a tough prop when he played here and we know he will employ all that toughness again now to beat cancer and win this battle. Make no mistake, we’re all behind him and everyone here and across the entire community sends Kieran, Marcella and Caolán every good wish.
“Fighting illness can be lonely at times, but we want to assure Kieran of our support and positivity. We know he’ll be back again in Heffernan Park and St Tiernan’s Park and Croke Park in the very near future.”
Contributions to help Kieran get the treatment he needs can be made at http://gofund.me/3ef7067d or just google, ‘Kieran Cawley + Go Fund Me’.