Shauntelle Tynan: Video prompts surge in donations to treatment fund

Donations for Carlow teen’s cancer care in US increased from €50,000 to €585,000 in 48 hours

A Co Carlow woman has said she is “over the moon” after a video appeal for donations to help her fund life saving cancer treatment went viral on the internet.

The family of Shauntelle Tynan (18) had been raising funds to pay for cancer treatment in the US for more than a year before the teenager made the video appeal on Sunday night.

Ms Tynan said she had been told by her Texas-based doctor that her chances of recovery depended on how long she could spend in the US receiving treatment.

In the video, an emotional Ms Tynan says the specialist treatment is not available in Europe and that going to Texas is her last chance.


Within 48 hours donations to her page on the crowd funding had increased from €50,000 to €585,000.

“We thought there was a virus or something wrong because every time we looked at the gofundme it was just going up. There was just thousands and thousands,” she said.

Ms Tynan was diagnosed nearly two years ago with a rare form of multi-system Histiocytosis X Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). Since her diagnosis the cancer has spread to her gastrointestinal system, colon and skin.

Community fundraising

Previous visits to Texas for treatment were funded by her local community through events including a motorbike run and locals using their skills such as nail treatments, to raise money.

As the treatment is outside Europe, Ms Tynan does not qualify for the HSE treatment abroad scheme. “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 says in the video.

“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 so sad that my life is being put on a number and how much money we need to make.”

Ms Tynan used her Facebook account to thank those who contributed amounts ranging from a few euro to several thousand euro to her cause.

“I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone for all of the support! The last 38 hours has been a place of love and the people of Ireland have truly came together to help me get better and for that I’m truly thankful,” she wrote.

“There has been few haters but millions of lovers and each person showing positivity helps us through each day and we are truly over the moon. The good always outshines the bad.”

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist