Dying wish of Polish mother answered by Limerick

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A STAGGERING €40,000 has been raised to help fly a dying Polish woman home to her native country where she wants to die.

A STAGGERING €40,000 has been raised to help fly a dying Polish woman home to her native country where she wants to die.

Marta Salacka, 27, a mum of a four year-old son, was diagnosed with leukemia in March and was told by doctors a fortnight ago that she may have just weeks or months to live.

The young woman, who friends said “couldn’t believe the level of donations”, was in Knock yesterday with her parents, where they were “praying for a miracle”.

Friends of the Castleconnell resident set up an online donation account last week to raise €20,000 to allow her fly home to Poland on a special medical plane, or “air ambulance”.

But the generosity of the public - from Limerick, throughout the country, the UK, Poland and the United States - has greatly surpassed their expections. Last night, over €35,000 had been donated online by more than 1300 people in six days, who had been touched by Marta’s story and wanted to help her in her final days.

The appeal was first revealed in the Limerick Leader last week, and later went viral, with thousands of people highlighting her story on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Her friend Laura English said the total amount of funds donated has yet to be tallied, but is likely to exceed €40,000.

Some €3,000 was raised at a fundraiser in Castleconnell last week, with another €3,000 coming in in cash donations locally.

“Everyone was so happy to see the donations coming in, and keep going up and up. To say we’re shocked doesn’t really cover it. It’s crazy; absolutely unreal,” she told the Limerick Leader last night.

“There are no words to describe how thankful we are to all the people who donated, especially in these recessionary times. It is so kind and generous of people to donate what they can, and really is heart-warming to see. It’s something we’ll never forget.

“Marta couldn’t believe it, but she actually felt bad about people giving so much money. But she’s very happy she’ll get to go home.”

It is expected that she, her husband Mariusz and son Nikodem will travel home this week, but a date has not been confirmed.

Laura said the extra funds raised, in excess of €20,000, will allow them to get the best medical care for Marta in Poland and hopefully prolong her days.

The young woman, who hails from Gorzow Wielkopolski, near the German border, was diagnosed with two forms of leukemia, a cancer of the blood, this March and was believed to be making a good recovery until she received the results of the latest scan.

Doctors informed her that she could live for a few weeks, or potentially months if she chooses to undergo another round of chemotherapy.

She is suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia.

She started a blog this year after being diagnosed with the life-threatening illness to write about her experiences of recovery, and now, how she is dealing with her fate.

In it, she writes about how her life seemed perfect until she received the diagnosis.

“My name is Marta. I am a 27 year old wife of the most wonderful guy under the sun and mother of the cutest four year old boy. We live six years in Ireland, in a beautiful house with a garden. Mariusz - my husband has a steady job. What more could you want from life? It may seem that everything is so beautiful..”

Marta had complained to doctors earlier this year about suffering pains in her right shoulder, breast and ribs, but was told she was merely suffering from muscle pains.

After she insisted her symptoms were more serious than that, she was referred to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle, and later transferred to St James’ hospital in Dublin by ambulance.

Her husband, whom she wed four years ago, has given up his job to take care of her.