CELTIC FC are getting behind a fundraising initiative to enable baby Caolan Melaugh to travel to the USA for further treatment as he battles an aggressive form of cancer.
Celtic FC have historic connections to Donegal and a huge link between the clubs exist.
The news of the club getting behind Caolan’s fundraising drive was announced on the club’s website.
They posted the following message on their online account earlier tonight and the post has gone viral on social media outlets.
The website also conducted an interview with Caolan’s father Gerard who is a well-known soccer player with Curragh Athletic.
EVERY Celtic supporter remembers their first trip to Paradise.
But for the Melaugh family, the chance to make the trip to Celtic Park will mean much more than simply seeing the Bhoys in action.
The Donegal family have recently felt the support of their local community and the worldwide Celtic family who have rallied behind their infant son Caolan.
At just 10-weeks-old, Caolan was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, Stage 4 high-risk Neuroblastoma.
This diagnosis started Caolan on an 18-month journey of intense chemotherapy which will hopefully remove the disease from his body.
While he is five months into this arduous course, this is only the start of a battle as Neuroblastoma carries with it an 80% chance of relapse.
Caolan’s father, Gerard Melaugh, explained that the family are now fully focused on supporting his son with fundraising efforts now well underway to take Caolan to the United States where additional treatment can be sought to help him.
Gerard told the official Celtic website: “Caolan was diagnosed in February when he was 10-weeks-old and obviously it was big shock at the beginning, but so far he’s responded better than we could have hoped.
“We are staying positive and our plan just now is to get through these 18 months of chemotherapy and from there go to America where we can get help.
“This is a new form of treatment that can help prevent a relapse because that is the main threat. It is not so much the cancer just now but really to stop it coming back and this treatment could be the big help that we’re looking for.
“That’s why we’re raising the funds, that’s why we’ve got the £250,000 target and that’s why we need to get him to America.”
Despite such a huge target, Gerard explained how the family have been humbled by the support offered from friends, family and the community at large.
Countless events have been held in Donegal with local businesses hosting fundraising days that have so far helped everyone reach a first fundraising landmark of £50,000.
But aside from the financial backing they have received, Gerard explained how he and his wife Stacey have found emotional support from the family of Oscar Knox, who like the Melaughs, found comfort in the generosity shown to help their son, who sadly passed away last year.
Gerard added: “We’re trying not to look too far ahead because everything can change quickly but, praise God, if we can get through this first 18 months, then there’s the five-year mark if you are cancer-free and there are check-ups every couple of months.
“The response we’ve had from the local community has been amazing and in this short space of time we’re around the £50,000-mark already and there’s still a lot of fundraising events coming up.
“What we’re trying to do is similar to Oscar Knox and I’ve been in contact with his mother, Leona. Since Caolan was diagnosed, she’s been helpful with giving us information and people to contact too. That’s the big thing because we didn’t know what to expect and they’ve been so helpful to us. It’s been overwhelming.
“Sometimes, it is hard to think that people can be this generous. Even local businesses have given us an unbelievable response and I’ve been shocked by it all, to be honest.”
With many more hurdles still to overcome, the Melaughs admit that they are keen to build on the momentum that has been generated already by the fundraising campaign.
And, having already committed to raising Caolan as a Celtic supporter, Gerard says that bringing him to Paradise is a dream he is eager to realise.
He said: “I’ve always followed Celtic from such a young age and I used to go over for the games.
“The atmosphere is just amazing and I actually took Caolan out last week to get him his first ever Celtic top.
“Without doubt he’ll be coming over to his first Celtic game, that’s the plan.”
For more information,go to www.caolanmelaughfund.com