Ethan Tiernan with his siblings Rían, Cadáin, Freya and Bria.

Community rallies around Tierney family

The community is rallying around an east Cavan family raising around €37,000 in just a week to help support them.

The fundraising initiative has been launched to help a toddler get a second chance at life after he recently received a devastating health diagnosis. Ethan Tierney (22 months) from Virginia was diagnosed with an immune disorder called Hyper IgM Syndrome, a rare one-in-a-million life threatening disease that places the toddler at high infection risk, cancer and mortality.

The only known cure is chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Treatment isn’t available in Ireland but can be delivered by Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle where Ethan and his parents David (Gowna) and Jacqui (Dublin) will travel on March 3 next.

“Ethan has a very rare hereditary disease from the maternal side of the family that affects males,” Jacqui told The Anglo-Celt before adding that there is absolutely no evidence of it to date in her family.

“The only curable treatment is a bone marrow transplant but he will need chemotherapy first to clean out his system. He is stable at the moment and is able for the trip to Newcastle next month.”

Upon arrival at the hospital in Newcastle, which is coordinating the treatment with Crumlin Children’s Hospital, the toddler will undergo a transplant assessment. Treatment will include chemotherapy, blood transfusions, transplant and aftercare. His siblings Rían, Cadáin, Freya and Bria underwent blood tests to see if they were suitable donor matches but none were deemed compatible. As a result a suitable donor may be sought.

In the meantime, the family is focusing on next month’s visit to the hospital where Ethan will be given a date for transplant and subsequently admitted for his much-needed treatment. “Ethan’s treatment will take anything from six to eight months; we have four children in school and I am a nurse who has been told to stop working because the environment I work in makes the risk of infection for Ethan higher,” explained Jacqui of their predicament.

“We won’t be provided with accommodation in Newcastle. The whole family is going to have to move there for the duration of Ethan’s treatment and we will have to rent a house, so the Gofundme has really taken the financial pressure off us,” she added.

Meanwhile, hopes are high in the Tierney family that Ethan’s treatment will be a success and he will be able to live a normal, healthy life.

“We are taking it one step at a time,” said Jacqui.

"We have been blown away by the generosity we’ve received on Gofundme. We have no choice but to do this because this is the chance that Ethan needs now.”

The fundraising goal for the Tierney family has been revised to €60,000.

To donate, click here.