A teen battling a rare form of cancer recently appealed to the Internet to help her travel from Ireland, where she lives, to Texas to receive the treatment she needs to survive.
Amazingly, Shauntelle Tynan's goal of raising €500,000 on GoFund Me was far surpassed after she posted an emotional YouTube video about her story. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised just shy of €695,000 (close to $750,000!). The 18-year-old's odyssey started in 2015 when she was diagnosed with multisystem Langerhans Cell Histocytosis (LCH). Five failed treatment attempts later, Shauntelle's last chance for survival is to move to Texas for a year so she can be under the care of a specialist.
The problem is that the Irish government can't help her family pay for treatment outside of the EU. "I'm an Irish citizen. I just wish they'd help," the 18-year-old tearfully declares in the video. She also heartbreakingly details how her cancer has spread to basically everywhere in her body.
"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," she heart-wrenchingly explains.
Throughout the video, Shauntelle tries to remain positive, but she breaks down at the desperation of her situation. "I don't want to die," she sobs.
Meanwhile, her mom Leona, who will stay behind in Ireland to care for Shauntelle's siblings when "Shan" moves to Texas, writes on GoFundMe, "I refuse to give up on my child and let her suffer a day longer than necessary." She also said, "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."
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.