The Irish parents of Megan Malone from County Cork, have revealed that they have not been reimbursed for their living expenses since January, despite a trust being established to cater for their costs.
The toddler is receiving life-saving treatment in New York after she was diagnosed last October with a rare cancerous brain tumor. Doctors in Ireland gave her a five percent survival chance.
Megan is responding well to treatment here in the U.S. and just last week her family were told the cancer in her brain had disappeared, however she will require ongoing treatment here in New York for the coming months.
Megan is preparing for another intense round of chemotherapy treatment at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Her parents John and Shelia have been informed that the 3-year-old’s treatment could be stopped and her family sent home if they become reliant on the state. The Cork couple are not permitted to work while here in the U.S.
Around €180,000 ($261,000) has been contributed to the Megan Malone Trust by people in Ireland. However the board of the trustees stood down in February after a row with the Malone family.
John and Shelia had requested that the board step down last month after concern was raised over the manner in which the fund was administered.
John Malone claimed that the board honored most expenses but the trustees refused to reimburse the family for what they described as “reasonable living expenses”.
"We have no financial support here in New York and no access to the money in the fund, which we understand to be around €180,000. We have not been reimbursed for any of our expenses accrued since the 21st of January," John Malone told the Irish Examiner.
Three new trustees have been appointed to administer the fund, however the former trustees who originally administered the fund have not yet removed themselves as the signatories. As a result the Malone family are unable to access the money raised.
Last month the New York hospital sent a letter to the trust saying: "Megan’s parents are not authorized under United States law to work and their stay and treatment is 100% contingent upon the complete financial support that the family has.”
“Their legal immigration status, and consequently Megan’s ability to stay in the United States for treatment, will be placed in jeopardy if they become a financial burden to the US."
Speaking about the dispute Megan’s father said: “The last communication we received from any one of the Board of Trustees was received over five weeks ago on the 10th of March and it contained very personal and hurtful comments about us as people and as parents."
A spokesman for the trust commented on the situation, before stepping down saying that they were disappointed the relationship between them and Megan’s parents had “deteriorated”.
“The breakdown of the relationship has resulted from a different interpretation of how the funds, raised by hundreds of people to support Megan and her family during this difficult time, should be dispersed,” he said.
Adding: "The role of a trustee is to ensure that the funds are being spent in an appropriate manner in keeping with the objectives of the trust. All decisions made by the trustees have been informed by this requirement."