Megan Malone, an Irish toddler suffering from a rare cancerous tumor, is making tremendous progress after receiving treatment in the United States at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.
The three-year-old was diagnosed with with PNET medulloblastoma last October, and was given only a 20 percent chance of survival. Her chance of survival is now 50 percent.
The Malone family, from County Cork, was in a desperate race against time to raise the money needed for Megan’s lifesaving treatment at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. An anonymous donor offered to cover the costs, which are estimated to be around $400,000.
When Megan left Ireland with her parents, John and Sheila, and three siblings, she could no longer walk and was in constant pain. Now, after her second round of chemotherapy, the cancer that spread around her spine is nearly gone and she is now able to walk.
"Megan was running, jumping and playing. Unbelievable to have come this far," Megan’s aunt Brid Malone told the Herald, after a visit to the family’s New York home with her daughters Beibhinn and Grace.
"She's started chemo again now.
"She came home on Saturday and we had a 40th birthday cake for her dad.
"She enjoyed that. She was thrilled when we arrived in the hospital and loved playing with Beibhinn and Gracie.
"The hospital was great, no queues, big and spacious.
"Megan was in isolation but her room was big and full of toys. The doctors even brought markers for her to color on the glass door. She was full of energy."
Megan’s father John is thrilled over his daughter’s progress but revealed that the second cycle of chemotherapy was rough on the little girl.
"We finally got to compare the MRI images taken in Dublin prior to any treatment and the MRI images taken in the US," he said.
"As well as the main tumor reducing in size, there also appears to be a significant reduction of cancer of the spine, which probably explains why Megan is now walking.
"The lower lumbar region of the spine, which was packed with cancer, appears now to have little or no sign of cancer.
"There is still evidence at the top end of the spine but nothing like what was there. I've requested a detailed comparison report from the radiology department.
"We need a radiologist to examine the images more closely but the cancer in the rest of the brain also seems to have receded.
"We are both delighted."