Paul Roberts is a lucky man. The glioblastoma multiforme patient has long outlived the dire prognosis he was handed more than six years ago when he was diagnosed with this incurable form of brain cancer.
Grateful for the time he’s had, the native of Ireland has purchased a medieval castle — Corofin Castle in County Galway, Ireland, — that he will restore for use as a place for glioblastoma patients and their families to visit and relax.
“I’m 58 years old now, and I’ve had an unusually lucky run with this,” Roberts said of his treatment. “Only a few people manage to survive this long with the disease.”
Glioblastoma, or GBM, is the same cancer recently diagnosed in U.S. Sen. John McCain, whose treatment journey is just getting started. Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, died from the disease in 2015; U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy was another victim in 2009.
Now, though, Roberts stays active planning his restoration project. The castle, built, in 1451, sits on five acres and the crumbling structure needs a massive amount of work. He will soon launch a crowdfunding site where people can sponsor materials. He’ll also welcome travelers who want to visit Ireland and do a little volunteer work.
His nonprofit Corofin Castle Heritage Park and its board of directors will oversee the project. He’s already raised $130,000 and expects he’ll need $500,000 to finish the work. He also would like to build or move a handful of stone thatched Irish cottage to the site for families to use.