DONATIONS from the city are flooding in to help send a young woman – who may have just weeks to live – home to Poland as she wants to be with her family when she dies.
Friends of Marta Salacka, 27, have urgently been trying to raise up to €20,000 to arrange a special flight to send her from Shannon airport to Poznan on a medical plane, as she cannot travel on routine flights due to her medical condition.
The married mother of a four-year-old son, she moved to Limerick seven years ago and is now living in Castleconnell, after moving from the city centre where she worked for a time in Burger King on O’Connell Street.
Her friends say they have exhausted all other means of transport, including driving her by ambulance across Europe, which would take 40 hours but would not allow her husband to travel with her.
She received a bone marrow transplant two months ago and chemotherapy, but last Thursday received the devastating news that the cancer has spread.
Within three days this week over 100 people had donated more than €4,000 and the figure continues to rise.
A separate bank account also has been set up to cope with the level of donations.
Her devastated friends are asking the public to donate as much as they can, and said the “generosity of people already in this heart-breaking time has been overwhelming.”
“She’s just an ordinary girl who was starting out on her life. She’s only 27. She was trying to make a home here in Ireland and built a life for herself and her family here. This could happen to anyone,” said one of her friends.
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 have informed her that she could live for a few months, or as little as just a few weeks, saying “there is nothing else they can do for her”, said a close friend of the family. Marta has been suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia, the latter of which is regarded as fatal if left untreated.
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.
The name of the blog, which is in Polish, translates as ‘the Snow Princess’. Her friends explained the title was chosen because leukemia in Polish refers to something white.
In it, she writes about how her life seemed perfect until she received the diagnosis.
“Hi, 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 have been living in Ireland for six years, 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..”
Now, she says all she wants is to be at home with her parents.
“I am trying not to cry, but when I look at my family, my heart is breaking. I don’t know how to say to them what I feel. We can pray for miracle and please pray.”
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 but is still waiting to receive a carer’s allowance and has been told it may take another 14 weeks to process. Over 400 cases of leukaemia are diagnosed in Ireland each year.
To make a donation log on to http://www.gofundme.com/1chbnw
Or to Monika Habrych, Account Number; 17134689 Sort Code: 90-43-17, Bank Of Ireland, 94 O’Connell Street, Limerick.