Updated at 8pm
A CARLOW TEENAGER who is receiving specialist cancer treatment in Houston, Texas, and was left stranded in her apartment complex following the flooding disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey, has made it to safety.
Shauntelle Tynan (19), from Graiguecullen in Carlow raised over €600,000 earlier this year to fund her journey to Texas Children’s Hospital to receive specialist chemotherapy that is not available anywhere else.
Following her final week of chemotherapy, Shauntelle was in urgent need of a blood transfusion, but the floods left her apartment complex surrounded by over five feet of water, leaving residents unable to get in or out.
Shauntelle’s mother Leona Tynan this evening said on Facebook that her daughter had since made to safety.
“Thanks to friends of friends and Danny and Charles for going to great lengths to get Shan to Texas Children’s [Hospital]!” She posted.
“She is now on her way with Monica while the weather has allowed a path before more flooding is due later today!
So relieved she will be out of danger and can get treatment!!! Thank you all so, so very much for helping us!
Speaking on RTE Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Leona said:
“We’ve been here a good few months now and everything has been going as good as can be expected.
Shauntelle underwent her last bout of chemo, ending on 18 August. We’re into the week where her blood counts are dropping by the hour, by the day.
“She’s really unwell… She’s in need of a blood transfusion and now we’re trying to get her to the hospital.”
America’s National Hurricane Center has called the Texas flooding “unprecedented” and said the storm, which crashed ashore late on Friday as a huge Category 4 hurricane, would move into the Gulf before doubling back midweek, bringing even more rain.
The family had received received an email from the management of their apartment complex to inform them that they’re expecting more water to enter the building later today and in the coming hours, the building could be without power.
“We’re getting more and more anxious,” Tynan said earlier.
“We knew Shauntelle was going to need blood by Monday, it is still Sunday night here, but by the time we decided that we should go in early, we were in a situation where we couldn’t get out and no one could get in.”
“We’re getting fairly battered by the level of rain. It’s noisy, it’s loud, there are alarms going off every few minutes for flash flood and tornado warnings.”
Tynan said that she has been trying to monitor her daughter’s health as best as they can.
“My mother in law is here and she’s a retired nurse, she’s been a blessing because she’s been able to look for symptoms and help us cope whatever way we can to keep Shauntelle from really panicking and getting overly anxious about how she’s feeling,” Tynan said.
Tynan told O’Rourke that the family have been in contact with the hospital and have made several 911 calls, but they were told that the ambulance service “could be calling in 10 minutes, or they could be calling in 10 hours”.
“She’s got a bad infection and got a bad fever over the past few days and we’re in a situation now where we’re trying to get her to the hospital and we don’t know how we’re going to do that.”
Tynan told O’Rourke that while they had enough water to last another few days, the family are unsure how long that will last for, as the aftermath of the storm has left the city in a dire state.
“We have enough water for another few days, we still have water coming in but we don’t know how long that will last,” she said.
“We got enough food supplies in to last us through a few days because that’s all we could actually buy, the stores were absolutely manic here, there was nothing on the shelves.”
At least three people have been killed by the storm so far, with reports of other fatalities still unconfirmed.
With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald