Texas school shooting: Tributes to victims

Posted at 4:19 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 16:19:15-04

(RNN) – Cynthia Tisdale was at Santa Fe High School on Friday working in an art class as a teacher's aide.

It was one of two jobs she worked to pay the medical bills for her husband of 47 years, William, who has a fatal lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

When a 17-year-old gunman fired on the art class as the day began, Tisdale was one of 10 victims killed. Attention from the tragedy has now resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of support for her husband.

A GoFundMe established in March for William Tisdale had raised $1,215 from 18 donations before Friday. As Tisdale’s story spread following the shooting, donations rapidly came in from around the country.

As of Monday afternoon it had surpassed $50,000 toward an experimental lung stem cell treatment – far more than its listed $30,000 goal. Hundreds of donations continued to come in by the hour.

The family’s GoFundMe post from almost two months ago said Tisdale was diagnosed in December, and doctors told him he had 12-18 months to live. He was denied a lung transplant, according to the post.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the disease is one “in which tissue deep in your lungs becomes thick and stiff, or scarred, over time” and this scar tissue, called fibrosis, eventually impedes the flow of oxygen through the bloodstream.

Cynthia Tisdale assumed the burden of trying to get him the treatments he needed. In addition to her work at Santa Fe High School during the day, she worked as a server at a restaurant at night, a family member told CNN.

Tisdale’s family shared a note he wrote to them in the original March post:

“My life right now is nothing more than being connected and dependent on a 50-foot hose for oxygen,” it said. “Luckily I have you to make sure I get out every day … to keep me with something to push forward for.”

In the note he said he wanted more time with his wife, children and grandchildren “who I so much want to grow up as much as possible.”

Tisdale was robbed of any more time with his wife, but he still has a chance at more years with children and grandchildren.

In an update posted on Sunday, the family wrote:

“We are still in such disbelief that anything good can come out of such a horrific event … my mom always made good come out of bad situations though and this is no different for her.

“The amount of love and generosity our family and father is receiving is unimaginable … after we start to find our new normalcy somewhat we will sit down and get the stem cell treatment he’s been waiting and hoping and praying for, thank you all again so very much!”

On person who donated offered hope.

“My dad had pulmonary fibrosis and he had a double lung transplant and lived 11 more years!” wrote Hannah Thornton. “Best of luck and you are in my prayers!”

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