'You've given me the chance of life' - Teenager thanks Irish public for raising €674k for last-chance treatment
More than €674k has been raised to support an Irish teenager's cancer treatment after her video went viral internationally.
Shauntelle Tynan (18) posted a heartbreaking video online yesterday, in which she pleaded with the public to support her health care costs in the US and said specialist treatment in Houston, Texas would be her "last-chance".
Since the video was shared on Shauntelle's Youtube channel and on Independent.ie, more than 26k people have donated to the campaign, raising more than €514k throughout the past two days and over €674k in total.
The Carlow teenager took to Facebook on Tuesday to thank those who donated to her campaign, which has well surpassed its €500k goal.
"The last 38 hours has been a place of love and the people of Ireland have truly came together to help me get better and for that I'm truly thankful. There has been few haters but millions of lovers and each person showing positivity helps us through each day and we are truly over the moon.
"The good always outshines the bad and I now have a true chance at beating this and it is all down to all who shared, commented and donated. I am so excited for my little brother and sister to come home from school to hear that I have made enough to go to Texas."
Shauntelle's mum Leona Tynan said they have been "blown away" by the support she's received.
Speaking on Kfm on Tuesday Leona said: "We have raised over €300k in 36 hours through Shauntelle's video.
"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. This has been raised by about 18,000 people.
"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."
Go Fund Me has confirmed that Shauntelle's campaign is the largest Irish campaign to ever be held on the crowd-funding platform.
Meanwhile, Belfast-based MMA fighter Andrew Murphy announced that he is to donate all ticket profits from his upcoming fight in the SSE Arena to help Shauntelle, after watching her emotional video.
"As a father to a one year old son seeing Shauntelle's video really hit me hard," he wrote on Facebook.
"I am lucky in the sense I get to fight as I enjoy challenging myself daily.
"Shauntelle fights because she has to. There is no enjoyment in this battle. I've never been motivated by money nor will I ever be. Next week I fight in the SSE Arena on the biggest show to hit Ireland this year.
"I have decided to give all of my ticket sale deal to Shauntelle’s fund to help get her to Texas."
Eighteen-year-old Shauntelle hopes to travel to Texas to continue her treatment in March, but does not qualify for the HSE’s Treatment Abroad scheme and therefore is not entitled to financial support from the government.
Speaking yesterday, Shauntelle, who is battling multi-system Langheran’s cell histiocytosis hit out at the government who she said are basing her life “on a number”.
"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