AN IRISH teenager who made a desperate plea for support to cover the costs of life-saving cancer treatment in the US has smashed her fundraising target of €500,000.
Shauntelle Tynan, 18, was diagnosed in May 2015 with an extremely rare type of cancer, multi-system Histiocytosis X Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH).
The one year’s worth of treatment in the US costs around $527,000 (€497,000), but as of Tuesday afternoon, Shauntelle had raised an unbelievable €585,000.
Shauntelle needed to raise a minimum of $350,000 (€330,000) by March 29, the date that her care treatment is due to begin.
Shauntelle's mum Leona set up the fundraising page last August and by the start of this week it had raised around €215,000.
But after an emotional video appeal posted by Shauntelle on Sunday went viral, her supporters have helped her smash her target, with a further €350,000 raised in just 36 hours – and the donations continue to roll in.
The teenager, from Co. Carlow, explained how important the money was in her fight against the rare illness in the heartbreaking plea this week.
She said: “The type that I have and where it’s affected, and where it’s affected now just doesn’t happen and it’s unknown and unheard of and no one knows why I got it, how I got it.
“The only worldwide specialist is in Texas. So of course, travelling to Texas comes with a huge price – it always has.”
Shauntelle will have to leave her family behind for at least a year as she undergoes treatment in Texas.
But the brave 18-year-old couldn’t be happier that the 18,000 people who donated to her GoFundMe campaign had given her a chance at life.
Shauntelle took to social media today to thank everyone for helping her reach her goal, saying she was “over the moon”.
She wrote: “The last 38 hours has been a place of love and the people of Ireland have truly came together to help me get better & for that I’m truly thankful!
“There has been a few haters but millions of lovers and each person showing positivity helps us through each day & we are truly over the moon!
“The good ALWAYS outshines the bad! I now have a true chance at beating this and it is all down to all who shared, commented & donated!
“I am so excited for my little brother & sister to come home from school to hear that I have made enough to go to Texas! Finally, their big sister can be there for them again!”
She added: “I will never be able to express just how thankful I am, as this Valentine’s Day I didn’t just receive a teddy or a card, but the chance of life!”