The husband of cancer patient Veronica Hanley Earley, who has been hospital-bound for the last eight months, says he is “blown away” by the support of the local community for the fundraiser which will help his wife return home.

Described by her sister Marcella Hanley as "the glue that holds the family together," Veronica (43) was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer two years ago.

Talking of Veronica’s diagnosis, her husband Micky Earley said: “She was given the diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer which is a very rare type. You are talking roughly seven per cent of lung cancer patients would suffer this, so obviously there is very little research in to it. Veronica’s been on chemo literally since then.”

When asked about the extremity of Veronica’s illness, Micky said: “As they would say she is on palliative care. The treatment she is on is to prolong her life for as long as possible.”

Micky explained that as a side effect of her chemotherapy treatment, Veronica suffered from fluid retention in her leg, which added tremendous pressure to her calf muscle, leaving her unable to walk.

He said: “With the doctors, surgeons, palliative care, all the help we could get up in SWAH and communicating with her cancer doctors in Derry, they came to the conclusion that we needed to open Veronica’s leg up to release the pressure. So it meant having an incision upon both sides of her leg, inside and out, and to let that heal of its own accord.”

Explaining that the healing process has been longer than they had expected, Micky said: “We were told that it could heal over months but to this extent we weren’t prepared.”

He continued: “She’s been in for seven and a half to eight months and through all that time there has been no chemo treatment but it has been monitored and thankfully we have been blessed that there has been no major advancement, but doctors have warned us that it’s the infections that are the worrying thing.”

During her time in hospital, Veronica has had numerous set backs due to infections she has picked up.

“Being in hospital for that length of time, it’s hard to not pick up infections,” said Micky.

After six weeks in hospital, Veronica picked up her first infection.

“It was very hard to detect so when it was finally detected it was reopening the wound and it was just infection after infection over a period of time and it was set back after set back every time,” explained Micky.

He added: “As I say, one of the things is to get Veronica home as you are more prone to infections in the hospital.”

With the money raised from the fundraiser, Micky hopes to make their house in Enniskillen wheelchair accessible so that Veronica can return home. He said: “I have not been working a great deal, what I do work is just about enough to cover the mortgage and that’s why we called for a fundraiser for people to help and thankfully people have been extremely generous.”

Micky continued: “We set the target of £2,500 so Veronica could have access into the house, anymore risen over that is going into what we call a comfort fund, if we can raise enough money to actually give Veronica access to the full house, that’s our goal.”

Commenting on the support so far, Micky said: “Just under 24 hours we hit the £2,500 target which really blew us away. With the speed that that was gathered up in, Veronica got an ogeous lift. To think that there’s people out there, family, friends and even strangers, people we’ve met on maybe a one-off occasion have been donating generously to get to that point.”

When asked what having Veronica home would mean to him, Micky said: “It would be a massive relief.”

He continued: “I feel like a stranger in my own house and I don’t have the comfort of Veronica being there. It’s definitely not the same being in the house on my own. I do spend a lot of time at the hospital, if I’m not at work and not at the hospital, I’m going to bed.”