"I don't want to die", says 18 year old Shauntelle Tynan
A Carlow teenager battling a rare form of cancer has pleaded for help in raising €350,000 to cover the costs of her life-saving specialist treatment in Texas.
Shauntelle Tynan (18), was diagnosed in May 2015 with an extremely rare form of cancer, multi-system Histiocytosis X Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH).
Since her diagnosis the cancer has spread to her gastrointestinal system, colon and skin and she has went through 5 failed treatment protocols between Ireland and Texas, where her primary care physician is. Her previous treatments in Texas were funded via money raised by the community.
In an emotional video posted to YouTube yesterday by Shauntelle, she explains how doctors in Ireland and the EU do not have enough knowledge of her particular type of cancer to treat it, and that the only specialised care she is able to receive is in Texas Children's Hospital.
The costs of travelling to Texas are high, and the teenager’s care in the USA is not supported by the Irish government as she does not qualify for the HSE’s Treatment Abroad Scheme, having sought treatment outside of Europe.
In her video, Shan says that :
"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.
"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.”
Shan has two younger siblings, and spoke of her fears of telling them she will not be around to see them grow up, saying that:
“I have a six-year-old sister and a ten-year-old brother. We don’t want to tell them I won’t make it if I don’t go to Texas, we just want to tell them I’m going to get there. It’s hard to know if I really will. It seems impossible to raise the money, but we really need to raise it.”
Her mother has written several letters to the Minister for Health, pleading for government assistance with the massive costs of the treatment.
The family have set up a Go Fund Me page and are urging people to donate and that "even €1 is one step closer for Shan."
To date they have raised over €215,000 of their €500,000 total goal.
Shan's mother has given up her job in order to be Shan's full-time carer, and is desperately trying to do all she can to enable Shan to get the essential treatment abroad.
"I refuse to give up on my child and let her suffer a day longer than necessary... Money won't be the reason that my child doesn't survive, I won't let it," her mother said.
To help with Shauntelle's treatment costs by dontating or organising a fundraiser event visit: www.gofundme.com/shanstreatmentfund