Thursday 29 September 2016

'It is going to be six weeks of very intense medical treatment' - Irish mother with rare disease prepares for life-or-death operation

Cathal McMahon and Louise Kelly

Published 27/04/2016 | 14:11

Marina and Alan Killoran at their home in Newbridge Credit: Kyran O'Brien
Marina and Alan Killoran at their home in Newbridge Credit: Kyran O'Brien

An Irish mother who made a last ditch online appeal for a life-saving operation will travel to the US in less than two months for the treatment.

  • Go To

Marina Jordan Killoran (45) suffers with an incurable auto-immune disease called Systemic Scleroderma and was told by medics she needed a stem cell transplant, which is not available in Ireland.

Just two weeks ago she issued a last-ditch appeal for help on Independent.ie after it emerged that the treatment would cost $125,000 (€109,000), not including travel, accommodation or aftercare expenses.

Incredibly the family have now raised €160,000. Speaking to Independent.ie Marina said she has now booked her flights and accommodation for the treatment.

“It is going to be six weeks of very intense medical treatment and then we will see how I will recover from that.

“We are heading out on June 12 and we are there until the 13th of August - provided I don’t get an infection and I’m healthy enough to fly back.”

Over those six weeks Marina will have her stem cells harvested and cleaned, before undergoing five days of chemotherapy. Her clean cells are then infused back into her body.

“They reinfuse me with my own stem cells so my body won’t reject it because they will recognise them. At the same time they will have been cleaned of the disease in the hope then that my body will copy it.”

The complex operation will be carried out Dr Richard Burt of the Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Marina will travel to Chicago with her husband Alan but their daughters Shannon (20) and Erin (16) will remain in Ireland during the treatment.

Marina, Alan and their daughters Shannon and Erin.
Marina, Alan and their daughters Shannon and Erin.

Unfortunately Marina will miss Shannon’s 21st birthday.

“I never envisioned when she was born that this was the path it we would take, that I would be spending her 21st in a Chicago hospital. We will make it up to her when I get home.”

Marina explained that they intend to use any extra money raised to pay for the expensive costs of Intensive Care treatment, should she require it.

It costs $10,000 (€8,840) a night for a stay at ICU in Northwest.

Marina insisted that any cash left over will go straight back into supporting others with the rare disease. Since her appeal the mum, who is originally from Tallaght, has been inundated with calls from others suffering with the same disease.

“The kindness and the energy from the Irish people has given me that extra energy and boost.

Marina and Alan Killoran at their home in Newbridge Credit: Kyran O'Brien
Marina and Alan Killoran at their home in Newbridge Credit: Kyran O'Brien

People who have lost people to the illness have called me and said that they would love for treatment to be there for the illness.

“They want to see that there is hope there for the future. They want to make sure that nobody else loses a loved one to this disease,” she said.

She now plans to create a foundation after hearing of a young teenager with the same illness.

“We have only heard recently of a young guy who has it and he is 16.

“That is tragic, that is heartbreaking. How does that happen to a young guy in his prime?”

Support Marina here. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News