By Nick Bramhill
The Co. Wicklow parents of a young girl who’s fighting cancer have paid an emotional tribute to the Irish public, after raising enough funds to secure life-saving treatment for their daughter in the US.
Alice Hayes, nine, is fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma, a high-risk and aggressive cancer of the nerve cells that comes with high relapse rates.
The youngster’s family had faced an overwhelming race against time to raise €550,000 to guarantee her a place on a clinical trial at the world-renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (stet) in New York.
But yesterday her parents Norah and Dylan, both originally from Greystones, said they were lost for words after reaching their daunting fundraising target a month ahead of their Christmas deadline.
The couple – who also have a 13-year-old daughter, Laragh – said they now feel more hopeful than ever that their younger child can beat the odds and make a full recovery.
In a heartfelt tribute, the couple said: “This is truly incredible. Through the exceptional generosity and overwhelming support of so many, we have reached our target in less than two months.
“We can hardly find the words to express how much all this hard work and support for Alice means to us. It will give her a fighting chance to overcome her battle with cancer over the coming months and years ahead.”
In the meantime Alice will continue with cancer treatment at a specialist cancer centre in the US, before beginning the clinical trial in the US early next year.
Her parents said in a Facebook post that any additional funds raised would be put towards treatment costs and expenses in Barcelona, whilst any remaining monies would then be donated to paediatric cancer support charities.
More immediately, the family – including Alice – are counting down the days to returning to their Blackrock, Co. Dublin home later next month to celebrate Christmas.