SOMERVILLE, NJ - Tilly Mahon is flying from Melbourne, Australia to the United States in less than a month to meet her grandfather, Colin Driver, a long awaited event filled with anticipation but fraught with anxiety and angst.
Two-year-old Matilda, aka Tilly, her mom, Jane, father, Matthew and 5-year-old brother James are flying 10,318 miles from "Down Under" because Tilly needs help facing a life-threatening crisis.
The family is expected to arrive in the United States on Oct. 9, and will spend some time in Hillsborough before heading to Boston Oct. 15.
Driver, who came to the US from Australia in 1980, is a resident of Hillsborough and works as the Economic Development Director in Somerville.
Tilly requires a life-saving operation at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Boston, and though the family’s health insurance will cover some of the expenses, there just won’t be enough, according to Driver..
Tilly was diagnosed in February with a life-threatening Vein of Galen Malformation and Hydrocephalus which requires her to undergo urgent, life-saving surgery.
“The only place this can be done is at the Boston Children’s Hospital Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center,” Driver wrote in an email to friends and business associates.
The surgeon will be Dr. Darren Orbach MD, PhD, at The Boston Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, according to Driver.
Doctors have begun to pore over her medical records from Australia, according to Driver. Once she arrives in Boston, it may take a few weeks before they decide on a course of action; the operation might be performed immediately, or she may need to go home and return to Boston at a later date, according to Driver.
Tilly has had two operations at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne preparing her for the trip to Boston.
“Without treatment, Tilly will eventually go into heart failure and pass away,” Driver said. “Distressingly, there is no timeframe on when this might be ... it might be 2 years, it might be sooner.”
So Tilly’s grandfather is asking for your help – reluctantly.
“I had to think seriously before sending this email,” said Driver.
“We all like to think that we can look out for our own family and take care of things with our own resources,” Driver said.
“But the costs are horrendous.” he added. We don’t know how much the Australian medical insurance will cover in the United States, and there are the ‘soft’ costs - accommodations, meals, travel.”
The e-mail continues:
“We need everyone’s help to get my grand daughter to Boston for this life saving surgery. Jane (my daughter) has started a GoFundMe page in Australia - https://www.gofundme.com/gettillytoboston - trying to raise $180,000 AUD to cover expenses, that is about $133,000 USD," Driver said.
“I do not believe this will be enough to cover all the expenses. I would like to raise more, while her Australian medical insurance will cover a lot of the medical expense I do not believe we can cover all the expenses for the 4 to 6 weeks they will be in the US.
“So I am asking you to support “Tilly”, if you cannot contribute would you please circulate this email to all your contacts so that we can get Tilly to Boston this October for this lifesaving surgery."
Further information is available online at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Gettillytoboston/