Mother is sure faith and bravery will see her brave little fighters recover
8-year-old Robyn Smith gets cancer again after four years in remission
A devoted Irish mother has vowed to do "whatever it takes" to raise the hundreds of thousands of euros she needs to bring her cancer-stricken daughter to America for life-saving treatment.
Up to last month Bernadette Dornan had every reason to believe that her eight-year-old daughter Robyn Smyth - whose childhood cancer had been in remission for four-and-a-half years - had finally beaten the killer disease.
But a CT scan that Robyn, from Whitehall in north Dublin, underwent exactly a month ago detected a tumour protruding through her jawbone.
Tests have also revealed suspicious spots on Robyn's face, lungs, liver and pelvis area.
Robyn, who suffers from neuroblastoma - the same disease as Tiny Dancer Lily-Mae Morrison - has since undergone the first of two scheduled cycles of chemotherapy at Crumlin Children's Hospital.
But her mother and father, Leighton Smyth - who also have another daughter, Millie, one - say they may have to leave for the US as soon as next month if the second cycle of chemotherapy later this month fails to reduce the cancer.
Bernadette needs to raise at least €350,000 to pay for a clinical trial in either New York or Michigan - treatment which isn't covered by the HSE and which she says represents her daughter's only hope.
She said: "I'm completely devastated. I knew the cancer could come back, but I'd got to the stage where I didn't think it would. I keep waking up every night thinking it's just a nightmare, but unfortunately it's very real.
"She's getting her second round of chemotherapy in just over a week and then she'll be scanned in early September. Either way we'll somehow have to get to America. If her tumour grows while she's getting chemo or she gets another lump, we're in a really bad situation and we'll have to get to America straight away.
"But if it works and it's reduced, we'll get a few more chemotherapy cycles here before America.
ven if she's in remission, I want to get her on a trial there that will keep her in remission. Either way I have to get to the US and we need to raise as much as we can and as quickly as possible to make that happen.
"People, particularly around Ballymun and Whitehall, have been brilliant. There's been so much fundraising going on, but we need to keep it going."
Bernadette also revealed that pretty Robyn, who was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was three, has struggled to cope since the re-emergence of the cancer.
She said: "She's changed completely, she feels very down and she's scared. She also doesn't like the way she looks at the moment. When she first learned she had relapsed, she hid under the bed and wrote a note."
However, determined Bernadette stressed she has faith her brave daughter will beat the killer disease.
She added: "I can't change what's happened, but I can give Robyn every chance of beating this. We can beat this cancer and I'm going to do everything possible to give her access to the best treatment available in the world."
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