A devoted mum who set out to raise €34,000 in 10 days to fund vital procedures for her sick twin girls has issued a heartfelt 'thank you' after a flood of donations helped her reach her target last night.
Cork mum Audrey Murnane said the Irish public had helped make all her dreams come true.
"You have helped us achieve the impossible and changed the lives of two little girls forever," she said.
"We have also managed to raise surplus funds which will be put towards an ongoing treatment plan for Maya and Zoe."
The backing of the Munsfer rugby squad in the last 48 hours played a huge role in her reaching the fundraising target.
Audrey said she will be forever grateful to the squad, and to Donncha O'Callaghan in particular, for taking such a personal interest in her daughters' plight.
The 18-month-old twin girls were born with long segment tracheal stenosis, which causes an obstruction in the trachea — the airway tube that links the throat to the lungs.
They are the only twins in Ireland with the condition and need a regular procedure, which cannot be done in Ireland, to keep their airways open.
Audrey asked doctors in Great Ormond Street to assess the girls’ medical files and they agreed to work on the girls on Dec 18.
The three-pronged non- invasive procedure includes a bronchoscopy and a dye test to evaluate their condition, and then the insertion of a special balloon to stretch the girls’ airways.
The HSE has said that no application for treatment abroad under its Treatment Abroad Scheme has been received for the twins, and therefore, no funding for treatment has been refused.
But Audrey insists she was told that no funding would be granted if she applied, forcing her to go public with an appeal for help to raise €34,000 by the Dec 18 deadline.
And she confirmed last night that they have reached, and surpassed the target.
She said she was "humbled, shocked, surprised and honoured" by the generosity of people.
The girls are due to undergo the special procedure in Great Ormond Street hospital on Dec 18.
They will be transported
By Eoin English, Irish Examiner