Meet the man who is raffling his home and moving back in with his parents, so his best friend’s sons life-saving cancer treatment can continue.
Generous Gordon Kenny,(41), from Dundalk, County Louth, is offering his two-bed apartment in the towns Brickfield Gardens estate, worth around €185k, for a raffle at €12 a ticket to ensure 18-year-old Stephen Woods, from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, can carry on travelling to Houston Texas for vital treatment.
The target is to sell 55,000 tickets and if that is not met the winning ticket will receive half the proceeds of ticket sales with the rest going to fund Stephen’s expenses.
Gordon told the Sunday World, ‘ Myself and Stephen’s Mum Jean have been really close mates for the best part of 25 years, we met through work and hit it off immediately.
‘Jean has been through tough times before, I have had my difficult times and we were always there for each other so when Stephen fell ill I just felt it was my place to help as much as I could.
‘I started a GoFundMe page and we have managed to raise over €170,000 through that but that is being chipped away at through the cost of travel, accommodation and treatment so I was kind of thinking that it was time for me to move on in my own life anyway and of selling the property when the idea of raffling it came into my head.
‘I do have an outstanding mortgage on it but it is not huge and once that is cleared I am moving back in with my dad and the rest of the money is for Stephens’s treatment.
‘I know from seeing it with my own eyes that the treatment is helping the young fellow, we don’t want to shout it from the rooftops but he is definitely going in the right direction.’
Stephen’s mum Jean admitted she was taken aback when Gordon first told her of his plans.
She said, ‘I think the word you are looking for is gobsmacked, I actually tried talking him out of it I mean there is generosity but this goes a whole lot further.
‘I have known Gordon for a long long time and he means the world to me.
has already suffered two devastating losses after her mother was killed by a drunk driver and her youngest brother took his own life
And those crushing blows have sparked her determination to give her son Stephen a second shot at life.
She told the Sunday World. ‘A number of years ago my Mum Angela was killed in a traffic accident on the N2, the other driver was drunk and just over a year ago my brother Alfie took his own life.
‘I could do nothing to save them the first I knew about those incidents was when the guards knocked on my door, but I have the chance to save Stephen and I can’t waste that opportunity’.
Stephen’s problems began in December last year when he was working in the local chipper.
Jean recalled, ‘ He began getting headaches and the GP thought it might be a neck strain but they got worse so in his eighteenth birthday, December 22nd, I brought him to hospital in Drogheda.
‘He was sent home with some medication but he never left the house over Christmas as he was in so much pain, I ended up calling an ambulance and he was taken back to Drogheda
‘This time they did a full scan and found a large tumour so he was sent to Beaumont hospital where he immediately underwent a surgery procedure that lasted over nine hours.
‘That was the hardest day as because of Covid they wouldn’t allow me in near him and I was left sitting in the car park in floods of tears with the worry.
‘He ended up being placed in basically a geriatric ward with a lot of older men with serious brain issues and some of them kept coming over and taking his blankets off him or looking through his bag, not out of badness they just didn’t know they were doing it.
‘In the end, the hospital put a security guard beside his bed 24/7 as he was getting annoyed over what was going on.
‘The doctors then told us they had done as much as they could and that they had removed 95% of the tumour, but warned that his life would be shortened and advised us that he stood to lose his memory, that his behaviour would worsen and his eyesight would be damaged.
‘I couldn’t give up though and through a Google search I came up with a clinic in Houston Texas run by Dr Burzynski.
‘They were straight with us from the start, they said they could help but that in total the treatment would cost over € 300,000 of which we had to pay €120,000 upfront.
‘We have been over and the treatment involves using what is in your DNA to get you better, there is no radiation or chemo or the stuff you would be used to here which means there are no real side effects.
‘I don’t want to be over-optimistic but Stephen has already regained the two and a half stone in weight that he had lost and is training again, he has gone from doing five sit-ups a day to thirty so the trip to the last chance saloon might just have paid off.
‘The last time he was over he had an MRI scan and we are due the results of that next Wednesday, the doctors have said they are 85% certain the results will be good.
‘We then travel over for further treatment on September 5th.
‘Look the community around the Dundalk and Carrick area have been brilliant but Gordon has been the driving force, he is the main reason Stephen has a real shot at beating this.’
Tickets can be bought atl https://raffall.com/307666/enter-raffle-to-win-an-apartment-in-ireland-hosted-by-gordon-kenny?affiliateUrl=d8fa637384eeb1464bc3ed99dcce8fd2724d3e7552411ec1ef925d8e13836bf6