Donations pour in for Ben Suisala, 25 year old dad dying of cancer
Hundreds of people have thrown their support behind terminally ill Auckland rugby player Ben Suisala, and Suisala says he's determined to reply to all of them.
Suisala, a 25 year old father of two young girls, has been given just months to live after being struck down by brain cancer.
His wife, Jess Suisala, said their phone has been running non-stop, while a Givealittle page set up to help cover the cost of his cancer treatment had, on Friday night, reached $27,000 from 600 donors.
Jess Suisala said her husband was intent on thanking every person who has got in touch or given money.
"He's so grateful. We've been flooded with messages - he's tried to say thank you to ever single person, it's hard to try and keep up but that's how he is, he wants to let people know how grateful and appreciative he is. It's just so unexpected."
The treatment the family were considering for him was immunotherapy drug Avastin, which would cost about $30,000 for three months.
Jess Suisala said the level of financial support they had received from the public had been "crazy".
"For people to think about my family at this time when everyone's concentrating on their own family and on the festive season. For them to take time out of their day and donate... I'm not one to get really emotional, I don't usually cry but it's heartwarming. It makes me really feel happy."
Ben Suisala, who previously played for NSW Country Eagles, was fit and healthy and was out running the same week he was given the cancer diagnosis in February this year.
Scans revealed he had Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a severe form of brain cancer, which left him physically unable to walk and stunted his speech.
He has gained some mobility back in recent months, however was still fatigued and would often spend entire days sleeping.
As well as battling cancer he became a new father four months ago.
Jess Suisala said his main hope was to be a normal doting father to his daughters, two year old Luca and four month old Lake.
"He's a homebody. He doesn't want to travel anywhere, he just wants to spend as much time with his family, he's obsessed with his daughters and if anyone asks that's his only answer. He just wants to be with his kids, that's what it's all about."