Sunday 22 April 2018

'We have over €50,000 left to go' - Irish mum in race against time to raise funds for life saving transplant

'I'm the one who hears her whimper at night' - heartbroken husband said he would 'sell his soul' to save his ill wife's life

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

Louise Kelly

The mum at the centre of a fundraising campaign to secure payment for her life-saving treatment is "afraid to be hopeful" that the required target will be reached in time.

Marina Jordan Killoran (45), who suffers with an incurable auto-immune disease called Systemic Scleroderma, is going to die if she doesn’t raise enough money for the stem cell transplant.

In a heartbreaking video Marina begged members of the public to save her life.

“I know if I don’t receive this treatment, I will die. Unfortunately the cost of the transplant is $125,000 and it’s a lot of money and it is money that we just don’t have.”

Her family had almost lost all hope that her autoimmune disease was slowly killing her - until they discovered the treatment being pursued by Dr Richard Burt of The Northwest Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

However, the cost of the stem cell transplant is a "huge financial mountain" at $125,000 (€109,000). The media coverage has helped to raise about half the funds, said Alan, but there is still a long way to go.

"The ifundraise account is going great but we still have about €50,000 to go to pay for the transplant," Alan told today.

"Unfortunately that does not cover flights, accommodation or aftercare but I am sure that we will raise that too.

"Marina's spirits have been lifted incredibly since the article sent the campaign into the stratosphere - but she is still afraid to be hopeful in case we don't reach the target in time."

In February, they travelled to the hospital to be assessed for the FDA approved stem cell treatment - which essentially "reboots" the immune system - which is currently not available in Ireland.

Donations into the ifundraise online account have increased dramatically in the last number of days - and sizeable direct anonymous lodgements have been made directly into a bank account set up for Marina's stem cell transplant fund.

But the family are concerned that, as Marina’s condition continues to deteriorate, she may not be well enough to go ahead with the transplant in several months time.

Originally from Tallaght, Marina and Alan moved to Newbridge in Co Kildare with their young family in 2001. They enjoyed an active outdoor life, going for "walks for miles in the countryside" before Marina fell ill over eight years ago.

"Marina has gone from a person who was so physically active, she never smoked or drank, to a person who has absolutely no quality of life - she's in bed 23 hours hours a day," Alan told

"I'm the one at night who hears her whimper. I can hear her when she's half asleep and she grinds her teeth with the intensity of the pain."

Marina Jordan Killoran
Marina Jordan Killoran

Alan, who has become a full-time carer for Marina in the last three years, said that she remains to be a "magnificent mother" to 20-year-old drama student Shannon and 5th Year student Erin (16).

"The girls really don't know any different, they have grown up with a sick mother. The girls will help her with her makeup and her hair if she has to go out to the hospital," said Alan.

“I had resigned myself to the fact that I was just going to be a widower and spend the rest of my days struggling on without the love of a wife,”

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

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News