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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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'We don't have the money for this' - Dublin mother pleads for funding for daughter's cancer treatment

12-year-old Robyn Smyth has been battling a rare form of cancer known as neuroblastoma for the past nine years.

robyn Robyn Smyth Source: robynslife

THE MOTHER OF a 12-year-old Dublin girl is pleading with the public to help provide the funds needed to continue her daughter’s cancer treatment.

Robyn Smyth was first diagnosed with a rare form of the disease known as neuroblastoma when she was just three years of age in 2007.

Although she successfully battled the disease once, four years later, in 2013, Robyn relapsed.

Neuroblastoma occurs where a solid tumour forms from nerve cells known as neuroblasts. Ordinarily these cells evolve into functioning nerve cells. In the case of neuroblastoma, they become cancer cells instead. At present, the disease affects just 10 children in Ireland each year.

Running out of options in Ireland, Bernadette’s parents went abroad for treatment to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in the US state of Michigan.

Robyn is now in her fourth cycle of battling the disease. For two years now, her parents have struggled to keep up with the stratospheric medical costs involved in fighting her cancer.

“It has always been an issue, constantly using up the money and continuing treatment,” says Robyn’s mother Bernadette.

robyn2 Source: robynslife

It comes in and then it’s out just as quick, Robyn relapsed in January which meant we had to do all the tests again. She has been through so much.

Bernadette explains that “there’s only one other trial to prevent relapse, and the price that was quoted, we don’t have the money for that”.

We were quoted mad money before, like we were told it could be €750,000, but that was a good while ago when we thought Robyn was close to remission.

“The people of Ireland have been absolutely amazing but we need to reach more people if we are to save Robyn.”

Currently in Ireland, the Whitehall, north Dublin, family is “back and forth all the time” to the US in their bid to overcome Robyn’s illness.

Source: Robyn's Life Trust/YouTube

“At the moment she’s on targeted medicine, specific to her tumour,” says Bernadette. “This other one is like a vaccine, I have to go back over there again to firm it up, but it’s probably the only thing if we can get her back into remission. But she is slowly improving.”

The financial fear of not being able to keep up with Robyn’s treatment is “just constant” she says.

It’s in and out and in and out, and if we’re looking at getting anything further we have to consider whether we’ll have the money there to get the next thing.

But Bernadette has never given up, much like her daughter.

“I’m always hopeful,” she says.

Robyn just wants to forget about it. When we’re done with hospital, when we’ve left, she avoids anything to do with her illness.”

If you would like to donate towards Robyn’s treatment you can do so via her website here, or her GoFundMe account here

Read: St Vincent’s Healthcare Group to review plans for National Maternity Hospital

Read: ‘It robs you of your very being’: Life with the invisible illness

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