A 19-year-old Carlow teenager battling a rare form of cancer has been caught up in the horrific flooding disaster in Houston, Texas, over the last number of days, writes Ciara Phelan.
Shauntelle Tynan, from Graiguecullen in Co Carlow is in Houston to attend specialist treatment in Texas Children’s Hospital, however, she and her family are now stranded in their apartment.
Shauntelle needs to get to a hospital urgently to get a blood transfusion and her mother Leona said her daughter is seriously unwell with an infection and fever.
Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, Leona said nobody can get in or out of the apartment and they are surrounded by water.
Leona has said that her daughter Shauntelle is waiting on emergency services to airlift her to hospital but has been told there are 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.
“We’re getting more and more anxious, we knew Shauntelle was going to need blood by Monday, it is still Sunday night here, by the time we decided maybe we should go in early, we were in a situation where we couldn’t get out and no one could get in. We are trying to monitor her as best we can.”
Leona explained how she has made three phone calls to 911 and have been in contact with doctors at a Texas hospital.
“I’ve asked them (emergency services) do they think Shauntelle will get to the hospital by morning and they said realistically they could be calling us in ten minutes or ten hours that they are dealing with thousands upon thousands of people that need to be rescued and have limited resources,” she said.
“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 about eight hours now but we are hopeful we can get her in in the coming hours in time to get some blood transfusions and medications that she needs.”
Speaking about the storm, Leona said there are a number of flash flood and tornado warnings and said alarms are constantly ringing around her apartment complex.
“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,” she told Sean O’Rourke.
Leona explained there was a lack of supplies and neighbours were going to have to start sharing with one another.
“We have water for another few days, we got enough supplies to last us a few days. The stores were manic here there was nothing on the shelves.”
Leona who also has an 11-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter over in Texas has said emergency services expected the storm to be over by Monday but schools have made contact stating they will remain closed until September 5.
Half a million euro was raised for Shauntelle in Ireland and communities in Co 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 is over with them in Texas and she is helping Shauntelle to cope whatever way she can to keep her daughter from panicing and becoming anxious.