Marina is on her way to Chicago for life-saving treatment

By Mary Dennehy

THIS time three months ago, Marina Jordan Killoran was losing hope that she would ever raise enough money to make it to the US for life-saving treatment.

However, this week the Tallaght mother-of-two is packing her bags for Chicago – after the Irish public got behind the 45-year-old’s life-saving appeal, helping her to raise more than €130,000.

Marina Jordan Killoran 2 resized

Growing up in Old Bawn, Marina 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, originally from Millbrook Lawns, and who now lives in Kildare with her husband Alan, 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 can use Marina’s own stem cells to reboot her system. This treatment is available in the States and could improve some of the damage done to her organs – at a cost of around €110,000.

This Sunday, Marina and her husband Alan will travel to Chicago, a journey which her family is hoping will be the first step to a new life for the young mother. Marina will have some preliminary tests done before beginning her treatment on Monday, June 20.

Alan, who previously told The Echo how Marina’s condition was, said: “It is a very exciting time for Marina and our family, as this will hopefully be the beginning of her new life, but she is obviously anxious because of the dangers.

“There is a six per cent mortality rate following the transplant, so we will be asking all our friends, family and everyone in fact, to keep Marina in their prayers.

“With Dr Burt [the doctor in Chicago] she is in the best possible hands and we are remaining positive that everything will work out well.”

He added: “Unfortunately, while we are away we will miss our eldest daughter Shannon’s 21st birthday, but it will be the best birthday present of all if Marina returns home well.

“This would not have been possible without the generosity of the absolutely wonderful people of Tallaght and Ireland.
“As we have said before, we will forever be in all your debt.

“We truly are blessed to have such beautiful friends and family who have pulled out every stop to help Marina and we really were overwhelmed by the level of support from the public.

“Ireland has been through so much over the last few years, but the kindness and fighting spirit has never left its people. We are proud to be Irish.

“And, thank you all so much at The Echo, you guys opened the door for us and we are so incredibly grateful to you all.” Follow Marina’s journey on the Stem Cell Transplant for Marina Jordan Killoran Facebook page.

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