Former Black Caps bowler Iain O'Brien has been left "blown away" after his fundraising plea to get home to his wife and daughters was rapidly supported by donations.
O'Brien, who lives in England, was back in New Zealand visiting his parents when the coronavirus outbreak struck, leaving him urgently requiring a flight back home – urgency exacerbated by the fact that wife Rosie suffers from a lung condition which makes her vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus.
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Three flight cancellations, and the delays in getting refunds from airlines, left him low on funds to get home, so O'Brien started a PayPal page hoping to raise £2250 so he could finally catch a flight home.
"This virus could kill her," O'Brien said of his wife.
"I need to get back ASAP to help her out and keep her safe (After my campervan quarantine is done, of course!). Flights to get back to the UK are £2250 / $4500."
To raise funds, O'Brien offered Skype or video chats with anyone interested.
"If anyone would love a 20 min Skype/vid call, one on one, talk about all things cricket, politics, sausages, mental health, Sachin [Tendulkar], etc... If you'd like that & can spare a couple of $£, message me and we can work out a time."
Clearly, there were a lot of people interested, as in just two days, O'Brien has raised £4,105 – leaving him in tears this morning and struggling to put his gratitude into words when posting a video on YouTube thanking those who donated.
"This is quite difficult because I'm not used to these kinds of things, but I woke up this morning and maybe for the third or fourth time in my life I cried before I got out of bed.
"Thank you all so much for your contributions – it's completely oxymoronic but I'm speechless. I'm just so grateful – thank you, and my wife thanks you, we had a nice moment this morning where I could share that news with her.
"It does mean I've got a lot of time to be spent on Skype – which is the best thing in the world at the moment, as that will be a brilliant distraction.
"You've absolutely blown me away – you're all wonderful, thank you so much."
O'Brien will leave the fundraising page open, with any funds not used to cover his flights to go towards an appropriate charity of his choice.