Irish couple open up about their fundraiser to access trans healthcare

A young couple open up about launching their fundraiser campaign, advice for people in similar situations, and the issues with trans healthcare in Ireland.

A photo of the couple who set up a fundraiser campaign to access trans healthcare abroad, they are smiling into a camera and there is a red light over them

Due to extensive waiting lists and high costs for trans healthcare in Ireland, Drew Corcoran (21), with the help of partner Shannon Quirke (22), began seeking options abroad with the help of a fundraiser campaign. 

On January 6 2021, a GoFundMe page was launched asking people for a helping hand in supporting Drew’s transition. Speaking about the campaign, he shared, “It was daunting awaiting people’s reactions but shockingly enough, I haven’t received any negativity around my transition. It truly is an amazing feeling to be out in the open about my identity that I have kept behind closed doors for so long.”

“I was at a loss for words at the sheer love and support I was shown through their donations and the overwhelming respect for me pursuing this journey of mine to outwardly become who I have always been on the inside,” Drew continued. 

Shannon set up the fundraiser campaign to help support her partner in accessing trans healthcare abroad. She said, “I was in work, thinking about it and I said to myself, ‘Just do it, what’s the worst that can happen? People talk about us? Who cares, it’s our lives’. So I made it and told Drew. He was shocked and happy with me and we were both just hoping for a good reaction and support.”

Since launching their campaign, the young couple have been astonished and grateful for the enormous outpouring of support and the positive reactions to it. Shannon expressed, “Every time someone donated, we’d be on some buzz, ringing each other, shouting with joy about it. It was just an amazing feeling seeing the support, personally I felt so loved.”

Reflecting on what he learnt from setting up their fundraising campaign, Drew stated, “The advice I would give to others in the same position that want to start up their own fundraiser would be to not let your doubt and assumptions of others stop you from doing what is right for you, there will be people that will love and support you every step of the way throughout it.”

Shannon added, “Just do it and don’t think about the negatives because they might not even happen. Just think of you and your life and how much it could help you in the long run. It shows the kindness in people and the love people have to share.”

Fundraiser campaigns have become a crucial lifeline for many trans people in alleviating both the financial and time pressures of accessing healthcare in Ireland. Drew shared, “My experience with the healthcare system hasn’t been the best. When I first started to question my gender, what it was that I was feeling and what I could do about it, I researched everything I could possibly find online about trans healthcare to start my transition in Ireland, and found that the waiting times in Loughlinstown Hospital to even receive a first appointment are three plus years (now multiplied during Covid), which left me pretty disgruntled.”

“With the help of my girlfriend, Shannon, I sought out private healthcare abroad. It can be costly but the wait is vastly shorter than what we have available here. Something as important as this you just can’t put a price on it. It took four to five months of ongoing assessments and interviews with my GP to thoroughly be sure that this was the right decision for me. I started hormones in early June, 2020, and it’s been the best decision I could’ve ever made for myself,” Drew continued. 

Looking back on their journey together, Shannon further expressed, “From being with Drew, I’ve learned there’s only one hospital that deals with trans healthcare and you’re on a waiting list for years for that just to start hormones, never mind a surgery. There’s only one surgeon in Ireland for top surgery and the bill is a whopping €8,000, which is horrible, considering there’s so much out there for cis people and their cosmetic procedures. Personally I think Ireland’s very behind and needs to catch up and help its younger generations with healthcare in all areas.” 

If you would like to support the couple, you can donate at the following link.

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