Monday 16 July 2018

'I'm euphoric, this is a second chance at life' - Irish mother with rare disease has raised €130k for operation

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

Cathal McMahon and Louise Kelly

An Irish mother who was told she would die if she didn’t get a life saving operation has raised enough cash to pay for the treatment.

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.

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

Now she has revealed that they have raised €130,000 in the seven days since we first ran her appeal. She has booked in her operation at the Chicago clinic in the US for June 20.

Overjoyed Marina said: “This is a second chance at life. It’s incredible. It’s thanks to the”

Ms Killoran told how they reached the target in less than seven days after the first online appeal.

“We are euphoric, it’s just such a turnaround in just one week,” she said. “The Friday before we made the appeal we held a comedy night and we raised €600.

“I came home and we were dejected, I was thinking ‘what am I going to do?’”

Marina, her husband Alan and their two daughters Shannon (20) and Erin (16) are now making plans for her trip to The Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago in June.

The cash they have raised will also be used to pay for their accommodation and living expenses while Marina undergoes the treatment.

She insisted that any extra cash will be put back into supporting others suffering with the disease.

“If I can continue and I am in good health I just want to dedicate my life towards helping others with this illness.”

Systemic Scleroderma or "thickened skin" essentially creates an overproduction of protein collagen in the body.

Marina has the more severe form of the disease which means her internal organs are also affected. Her lungs, oesophagus and stomach are now damaged - and there is also an anomaly with her heart.

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

"I am 45 and I want to live my life. I love life. I love my family and friends - and I just want to be given a chance," she said in a video with last week as she thanked the readers who had donated their money towards her cause.

"I know this is my only chance - and this my chance to have a much better lease of life. I just exist - I don't live."

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

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