A Co Tyrone man is preparing to take part in the upcoming Belfast City Half-Marathon to raise money for his five-month-old nephew who has recently undergone surgery.
Sean O’Callaghan, from The Brantry – near Benburb – has already been overwhelmed by the response, with his GoFundMe having raised £3,815 within a week, exceeding Sean’s £2,500 target.
His nephew, Decky O’Callaghan, has recently went through Kasai Biliary Atresia surgery. Biliary Atresia is a condition that affects the bile ducts of a baby. The ducts are tubes that carry digestive fluid from the liver to the intestines. The ducts may be too narrow, blocked or may be missing, which means that bile builds up in the liver and causes damage.
Decky was six-weeks old when the condition was detected and he underwent the operation on March 8.
“It was a very quick procedure because it needed done,” Sean explained. “The bile ducts coming out of the liver were blocked, so the bile was eating away at his own liver.”
Sean says that the motivation behind running the half marathon is to help Decky’s family with the challenging costs that the family are faced with.
“The family have to go to Birmingham maybe once a month and they have to go down to Craigavon Hospital every week to get his bloods done.
“If he gets any sort of infection he has to go to Craigavon and he has to be on the drip for ten days and take antibiotics.
“For the family, there’s been a lot of time off work for them, constantly running up and down the roads and flying away. So I just wanted to raise some money for them to help with costs.”
Sean says he has always wanted to do something like this, but has never had the courage to go out and do it.
He will now be running alongside Jason Trainor, Ryan Trainor and Sean Devlin.
On his current training regime, he said: “I’m just trying to build up the miles on my legs. At the minute I’ve been doing 12k to 13k training runs round the roads. The Half-Marathon is 21k so we’ve a bit to go.
“It’s just a matter of trying to get as much as we can. It’s very difficult for his parents because they have another two wee girls. Decky has been in hospital for two stints of ten days so his father then has to take off work to mind the two girls. His mother is then in hospital with him so it’s a lot of cost for them.”
With the fundraiser having taken off since it was first set up, Sean says he “couldn’t believe” the response and has been “blown away”.
“It’s just to help the family keep going and give them a bit of spirit,” he added.
You can contribute to Sean’s appeal via GoFundMe.