The family of a terminally-ill little girl is hoping a pioneering cancer treatment in the United States can save the child's life.

Two-year-old Alexandra Burke-Costa, from Effin, Co Limerick, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last November.

After a large tumor formed on her face, doctors treated her for they thought was an abscess. After the antibiotics failed, an MRI scan confirmed that she had rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in the soft tissues and can attack all parts of the body.

Alexandra underwent seven months of intensive chemotherapy every three weeks at Crumlin's Children's Hospital in Dublin. She and her mother Tracy traveled by train to Dublin for the treatment as the family does not have a car.

"Her mum never unpacked her bag when they got home from Dublin because no sooner was she home when she would have to go back into the Rainbow Ward at Limerick Regioinal Hospital because she would be so sick from the side effects of the chemo," Alexandra's aunt, Margaret Creed, told the Irish Independent.

"A recent CT scan showed that the cancer has left her cells. However, the tumour is still there and is inoperable and her prognosis is still very poor. She is on a light dose of chemotherapy now which her mum injects her with every day through a catheter in her neck. She also has a feeding tube."

After being told there was no further treatment available in Ireland, Tracy contacted the Buzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas, which provides a wide variety of advanced alternative cancer treatments. Tracy hopes a pioneering technique there could be used to save her daughter's life.

The treatments can cost anywhere between €30,000 and €100,000. So far, the family has raised €22,000 through local fundraising.

Donations can be made to Bank of Ireland, account number: 96313393, sort code: 904536.

Alexandra Burke-Costa