More than 2000km of water and a bung eye stand between Jordan Ieremia and his grandpa. And time is running out.
His 68-year-old granddad, Malo To'oala, has worsening cancer and this week was moved to a South Auckland hospice but Ieremia, who lives in Sydney, couldn't join family at his side.
The 18-year-old, who emigrated to Australia with his family three years ago, is unable to fly after eye surgery. The New South Wales under-18 rugby rep fractured his eye socket in a game and is grounded until at least May 24. The palliative care community, Palliverse, is trying to get him back by sea.
Ieremia told the Herald on Sunday he was trying to stay positive, but it was tough. "I just want to be there."
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His grandpa lived with the family in New Zealand and helped raise him. "He was always there when you needed him. I just want tell him to keep fighting ... He has fought this battle for a long time. If he can't make it that would honestly tear me apart."
The family investigated cruise and freight ship passage but couldn't find a ship for this month. They looked at a low-pressure private plane, but couldn't afford to pay $30,000.
He hoped someone might have an option the family had not considered. "I'm just hoping for a miracle, a yacht or something."
Totara Hospice South Auckland clinical director James Jap posted a plea for help on Palliverse this week as well, with the hashtags #pallanz Mercy mission and #getjnrbak.
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