‘We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity of spirit’

By Mary Dennehy

TALLAGHT mother Marina Jordan Killoran was earlier this month losing hope that she could survive a chronic auto-immune disease – and had even drafted letters to her young daughters to be read on their wedding day.

However, speaking to The Echo this week, Marina (45) was close to tears as she tried to express her gratitude to the thousands of people who helped her raise more than €130,000 for life-saving treatment in the States.

Marina and Alan Jordan Killoran April 21 

As reported in The Echo, Marina, who grew up in Old Bawn was diagnosed in 2010 with systemic scleroderma, a chronic, progressive and incurable auto immune disease which results in scar tissue building up on the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver.

Due to her illness – which sees an over-production of the protein collagen thicken the connective tissue of the body – Marina suffers from extreme joint pain, chronic fatigue, a persistent cough and limited mobility that sees the mam of two spend 23 hours a day in bed.

Marina, who now lives in Kildare with her husband Alan, originally from Millbrook Lawns, and daughters Shannon and Erin, also has a lung function of just 40 per cent and experiences difficulties swallowing due to an impaired oesophagus.

However, there is a form of stem cell transplant treatment, which uses Marina’s own stem cells to reboot her system, available in the States that could improve some of the damage done to her organs – at a cost of around €110,000.

Last week, Marina’s appeal for support went nationwide and in the space of six days enough money, had been donated for treatment – with money still being pledged to assist with Marina’s post treatment and two-month stay in Chicago.

Marina told The Echo: “I’m euphoric, it’s surreal, and I feel like I’m in a dream.

“Just over one week ago I was beginning to lose hope and was starting to think that this illness would kill me. 
“I was afraid that I wouldn’t see my daughters grow up, I had even drafted letters for important days in the future for when I was gone.”

She added: “However, this week I have lots of hope, and thanks to the generosity of people living in Tallaght and right across the country I have been given the chance to leave my bedroom, go out in the fresh air, enjoy a walk, drive to the shops – do all of the simple things that I can’t do now and wouldn’t have been able to do again without this treatment.

“We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and not just financially, their generosity of spirit.

“What’s happened over the past week has been an outpouring of love and we have been very moved and humbled by people’s emails, letters, messages, well wishes, prayers and kindness.

“I know I have a very tough time ahead but I know I’ll have a new lease of life at the end of it – and I’m so thankful and grateful to every single people who gave me back my life and my kids their mother.

“Thank you everyone – this gift you’ve given us is better than winning the lottery.”

Follow Marina’s story on the Stem Cell Transplant for Marina Jordan Killoran Facebook page.

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