Mum-of-two's plea in race against time for €125,000 life-saving operation in US
A heart-rending video appeal made by a mum-of-two for funds for a life-saving operation has resulted in a generous public response.
Marina Jordan Killoran (45), who suffers from a rare killer disease, appeared on a fund-raising website and independent.ie outlining the stark reality of her need for a stem cell transplant she can only get in the US at a cost of €100,000.
"I know if I don't receive this treatment I will die," said Marina, a native of Tallaght who lives in Newbridge, County Kildare.
"Unfortunately, the cost is $125,000 - a lot of money which we don't have," she said.
Her husband Alan said his wife's plea has caused a strong public response.
"Due to the coverage, we have seen our fund balance rise by around €50,000," he said.
The family was "eternally grateful" but there is still a "huge financial mountain to climb", he said.
Marina, a former Bank of Ireland worker, was an avid runner and swimmer until she was struck down by the deadly auto-immune illness Systematic Scleroderma Syndrome.
It is caused by the over-production of a protein which affects her lungs, heart, kidneys and liver as well as her joints, tendons and sinews and causes her great pain.
She travelled to the US where tests in a Chicago hospital showed she could get the life-saving treatment.
Time is not on her side. She needs help rapidly.
Her husband Alan, their daughters Shannon (20) and Erin (17), her relatives and friends are in a race against time to raise funds.
"I had resigned myself to becoming a widower.
"But now, I'm praying and hoping," said Alan.
He quit work to look after Marina and the carer's allowance does not provide a lot.
He would gladly sell their home but there is insufficient equity in the property.
"Marina is a private person and she was mortified to bare her soul on video.
"I will get over having to beg if it saves Marina," he said.
"It's very hard seeing her in pain. She's not one to complain," he said.
Her friend Sharon Donnelly told the Herald that the expenses required to proceed with the transplant is $125,000 and assistance from the HSE for treatment abroad does not extend to the United States.
"Marina's condition continues to deteriorate to the point where we are at a significant crossroads," said Sharon.
"If she can't find the money in the next four to six weeks, the hospital in Chicago will want to re-assess her to check that she is still well enough to proceed with the transplant.
"As her condition worsens, it's unlikely she would be fit enough to proceed with the transplant and so it's imperative that we raise the monies required immediately," Sharon added.
Donations can be made through the website https://www.ifundraise.ie/2267_stem-cell-transplant-for-marina-jordan-killoran.html
The moving video can be accessed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3wVnq5WfAM.
There is also a Facebook page - Stem Cell Transplant for Marina Jordan Killoran and Twitter@save_marina.