Saved by my smile: Strangers donate $100,000 for cancer patient unable to return home
A brave woman fighting cancer has raised $100,000 (£64,000) for life-saving treatment after doctors noticed her unusual smile.
Thaline Moreira da Silva, who was studying in Australia, visited hospital three times with intense headaches and vomiting but was told it was just a migraine.
It wasn’t until the Brazilian beauty, 30, collapsed that medics noticed her asymmetrical smile and realised she had mild paralysis.
She was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour – grade IV Glioblastoma Multiforme and rushed into emergency surgery.
Thaline said: “On November 21 I woke up with a shocking headache – I went to the bathroom and vomited and by this stage I’d lost around 8kg.
“On my way back from the bathroom to my bed, I lost my balance and collapsed over my coffee table.
“I was taken back to the hospital and they noticed I had some mild paralysis on my left side, with an asymmetrical smile, which was very unusual for me.
“I was rushed into emergency surgery, recovered and had multiple appointments with many different doctors.”
Thaline has a second operation scheduled for Thursday (December 17) and was alarmed to find her insurance didn’t cover the cost of treatment.
Unable to make the long flight back to Brazil she set up a GoFundMe campaign: Save Thaline’s Life.
In just 12 days, thousands of kind strangers have come to the rescue and donated over $97,000 (£65,000).
She added: “The one thing that has inspired me above anything else has been my GoFundMe page.
“When we started it I don’t think anyone was expecting it to be as successful as it has been.
“It fills me up of love, gratitude and motivation, the messages of encouragement, I read them all and I treasure them.
“The happiness and hope that I feel from this was so overwhelming the first few days that I could not help but cry with a big smile on my face.
“I hope everyone who donated knows that if wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have this second chance of life.
“So thank you to all of them and God bless them all – I promise to make them proud. I’m ready to fight against the cancer.”
Although Thaline has remained in Australia, her older sister flew in last week and they will be joined by their parents in January.
She said: “I’m so blessed, I have some very good friends in Australia who have really become like a second family to me.
“I think this has been really important too because my parents are so far away.
“I know my mum and dad have found a lot of comfort knowing that I have been in good hands since this all began.
“I’m also very lucky that my sister came out the first week I was in hospital.
“She’s been a massive help, and she’s been cooking for me every day so I have had a bit of home here in Australia with me since it happened.”
Despite the diagnosis the incredible woman has kept smiling and remained positive.
She added: “You try not to think about the surgery but of course you cannot help but think you might die.
“The majority of the time I have been very positive.
“You need to have a moment where you just breakdown and cry because it’s all part of accepting what’s going on.
“You realise crying over it all won’t help as well, so when you wake up in the morning you are ready to push forward with everything else and face this head on.
“So if you catch me off guard, with a secret camera, chances are you’ll still see me smiling.”
Donations raised will fund Thaline’s radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, as well as anti-nausea tablets to battle side effect and recovery physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
Any excess money will be donated to the Cancer Council of Australia.