Heart-warming moment Irish teen tells her siblings public raised €700k for 'last-chance' cancer treatment
Over the past three days, Ireland has come together to raise more than €700k for Carlow teenager Shauntelle Tynan after her emotional plea touched the hearts of the nation.
Following her viral campaign, the 18-year-old now has the funds to support specialist treatment in Texas Children’s Hospital in her battle against a rare cancer, multi-system Langheran’s cell histiocytosis.
Shauntelle took to her Youtube channel to thank more than 28k people who donated to the campaign since Monday and filmed the exciting moment she told her younger siblings Stephen (10) and Sophie (6) that she had raised more than €705k to go to Houston.
In the heart-warming video, the siblings are visibly shocked when Shauntelle tells them how much was raised for their campaign.
"That’s amazing, we only needed €500k,” says an emotional Stephen.
"Thank everybody so much. I’m so happy. How did we get to that in one day," he asked, stunned.
The ten-year-old thanked everyone who donated to his older sister’s life-saving campaign.
"The amount of support is crazy. We had a goal of €500k and we got to €620k. I just have to thank everybody. I’m in shock. It’s really a happy Valentine’s Day," said Stephen.
Since the video was filmed, donations have climbed to €705k, making it the largest ever European campaign to have ever been held on the crowd-funding platform Go Fund Me.
On Wednesday, Shauntelle expressed her gratitude to the Irish public for raising the vital funds, as she does not qualify for government funding because she is seeking treatment in the US.
"After that video it completely went viral. I wasn’t expecting half of the support that I got. It was incredible, amazing. I can’t believe it," she said.
"Yesterday I thought it was amazing that we raised 80k, but today my Go Fund Me is more than €617,198. I am amazed. I would have never thought this would be possible. The huge chunk is raised and I’m absolutely amazed.
"I’ve never been so happy in all of my life. You’ve given me such a chance. Thank you."
Shauntelle's mum Leona Tynan said they have been "blown away" by the support she's received.
Speaking on Kfm on Tuesday Leona said: "I haven't stopped crying, I haven't slept. We live in a mighty little country and I can't believe that people have been so good.
"It's whatever people have. It hasn't stopped. We're nearly there. We're going to get her there and we can't believe it."
On Monday, the teenager posted a video on her Youtube channel which was viewed thousands of times internationally.
In the video, the 18-year-old hit out at the government as she does not qualify for the HSE’s Treatment Abroad scheme and therefore is not entitled to financial support from the state.
"We’ve been emailing my government to get them to help us with costs but if you fly outside of Europe, they don’t help with medical costs. It’s ridiculous, €350k doesn’t mean anything to our government and this is my life. I’m an Irish citizen and I just wish they’d help. It’s so sad that my life is being put on a number and how much money we need to make,” she said.
Since her diagnosis in 2015, Shauntelle’s cancer has spread to the gastrointestinal system, colon and skin and the teen will travel to Texas on March 29 on her own to undergo treatment.
"Recently we have learned that we’re going to have to move to Texas for at least a year, that’s me on my own, that’s not my family, that’s me.
"That’s because the cancer has just gotten so out of control. When it started off I had cancer in my ears, my skin and my pituitary in my brain. Now it’s all throughout my gastrointestinal area. It’s in my colon, it’s in my skin it’s in my stomach. It’s given me really bad side effects. The doctors in Texas have told me if I don’t come for at least 12 months then they don’t have a great chance of helping me survive."
Shauntelle’s mum Leona has written several letters to the Minister for Health, pleading for government assistance with the massive costs of the treatment.
"We have done everything in our power to get her life back and pleaded with the Minister for Health for support but because Shauntelle requires care outside of the criteria for the treatment abroad scheme as her treatment is not within Europe. We have been swamped with acts and legislation all coming down to a big no.
"We now need to raise over €500k to get Shauntelle to Texas for a minimum of twelve months from March 29. We have managed to raise over €160k through Go Fund Me but need to raise another €350k. We can’t do this alone, our community has already funded five trips to Texas."
The mum has given up her job to be Shauntelle’s full-time carer and said she is desperate to see her teenager return to full health and to live a happy life, cancer-free.
"This is my daughter’s life to which she now has little quality of and I am a desperate mother trying everything possible to get my beautiful and inspirational daughter back to living the life she deserves before it is too late."
To donate to Shauntelle's treatment costs visit www.gofundme.com