A Donegal mother has started specialist lifesaving cancer treatment in America thanks to the success of a community fundraiser.
Vivienne Lynch-McDaid (48), from Buncrana, needs to undergo eight cycles of chemotherapy in Boston.
However, $150,000 (€127,000) has to be paid up front before her treatment can start at the world-famous Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
Friend, Victoria Naughton, launched a GoFundMe two weeks ago to aid with the costs. Incredibly, almost $184,000 has been raised by donors as of today.
Vivienne’s brother, Spencer Lynch, said she was feeling both happy and positive about starting her treatment.
“She’s just looking forward to getting her treatment started when I was speaking to her,” he said.
The treatment was due to start last Friday, however, it was postponed until Monday morning.
Spencer said the mother of two was feeling hopeful that it would be a success.
“She was contacted by a few people who had similar diagnosis,” he explained.
“One girl from Fanad had a similar story and she is now in remission. Hopefully it will be the same for Vivienne – this is her last chance – but she is feeling good.”
Ms Naughton said she was grateful for the ‘amazing kindness’ shown towards the campaign. However, she cautioned that the $150,000 figure is an estimate and is expected to increase.
“Please know that this fundraiser remains open and accepting donations,” she added.
“As originally stated, the $150,000 is an estimate. Final costs could be more and we would like to relieve Vivienne and family of any financial stress the necessary treatment(s) could cost.”
At the beginning of the campaign, Victoria said that Vivienne wasn’t feeling well and went to her local hospital in Ireland where several tests revealed dreaded news.
Late last month, Vivienne arrived in Boston.
A friend, a cancer survivor, had access to elite doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Dana Farber Cancer Institute and helped secure a consultation appointment for Vivienne.
After her arrival in Boston, Vivienne was seen by Dr. Bruce Giantonio, a medical oncology specialist at MGH with 34 years of experience in the medical field.
Dr Giantonio gave Vivienne the news she wanted: There is hope.
Dr. Giantonio developed a treatment plan for Vivienne, whose daughter Chloe was an Irish boxing champion in 2016.
However, Vivienne’s medical cover from Ireland does not cover the expenses, which have to be discharged before her treatment can start.
Victoria said: “This is understandable but puts Vivienne in a race not only for her health, but also for finances.
“I have no doubt that we can raise these funds. The Irish community is a tight-knit, strong and generous group. Those affected by cancer are the same. Let’s do this.”