Cancer battling Carlow teen reaches Houston hospital

Shauntelle Tynan


By Irish Echo Staff

As Houston continued to suffer a pummeling from Hurricane Harvey, a 19-year-old County Carlow teenager battling a rare form of cancer was trapped in an apartment in the city.

Shauntelle Tynan, from Graiguecullen, traveled to Texas for specialist treatment at Children’s Hospital.

A respite in the rain Monday, however, has allowed Shauntelle and her family to make it to the hospital.

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Shauntelle needed to get to a hospital to get a blood transfusion. Her mother Leona said her daughter had been seriously unwell in recent days with an infection and fever, this according to Irish newspaper reports today.

Speaking to RTÉ, Leona said that over the weekend nobody could get in or out of the apartment building and that they were surrounded by water.

According to an Irish Examiner report based on the radio interview, Leona said that her daughter had been waiting on emergency services to airlift her to hospital, but had been told there were thousands of people to be rescued.

"She's really unwell since Thursday and she's in the need of a blood transfusion and now we are trying to get her to the hospital, her blood counts are dropping by the hour," said Leona of her daughter before making it to hospital.

Leona said she had made three phone calls to 911 and had been in contact with doctors at the hospital.

"We've been talking to the doctors in Texas Children's hospital, they're waiting for her to get in, but currently our complex is surrounded by five feet of water.

"We are waiting on an airlift…we are hopeful we can get her in in the coming hours in time to get some blood transfusions and medications that she needs.

“We have got an email from our complex saying they are expecting a lot more water to enter the building later on today and in the coming hours we could be without power. They're saying we could lose power for four to five days," Leona told RTE’s Sean O’Rourke.

According to the Examiner report, half a million euro was raised for Shauntelle in Ireland and communities in County Carlow rallied around the family to help raise much needed funds to help treat her rare form of multi-system Histiocytosis.

Leona said her mother-in-law, who is a retired nurse, was also in Houston and was helping Shauntelle to avoid panicking and becoming anxious.

Now that she has reached hospital, Shauntelle can begin with her treatment - even as the chaos caused by Harvey continues outside.