A MINOR miracle has spared Lily-Mae Morrison from another painful operation.
The brave little girl, who is suffering from a rare form of cancer, was allowed to return home to Claregalway, Co Galway, this week, much to the delight of her parents and younger brother Evan.
Lily-Mae (4) suffers from neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer which affects just one in 100,000 children in Ireland and has only a 30pc to 40pc chance of survival.
She had been undergoing stem cell harvesting at Our Lady's Children's hospital last week. However, after two days the procedure had only produced half of the cells needed.
"You can only do this procedure over three days. After the first two days, we only had half of what we needed. I didn't think we had any hope of getting what we needed and Lily-Mae would have still needed surgery, it is very aggressive and would have caused her a lot of pain," said her mum Judith Sibley. "But we collected more on the third day than the first two put together. It's somewhat of a miracle."
The family is now hopeful that Lily-Mae may be allowed to remain at home for Christmas. We're home now and we could be home for Christmas. It's just unbelievable. Lily Mae pulled her boots on this morning and was straight outside to play. We thought we'd be in Dublin for 10 weeks and we had an early Christmas but we might get to do it all over again."
The news is a much needed boost for Lily-Mae.
The family is now waiting to hear when an isolation bed becomes available. Lily-Mae will then begin six weeks of stem cell treatment. That will be followed by six weeks of radiotherapy and then immunotherapy treatment for six months.
Judith also revealed how she was over the moon when the charity song for Lily-Mae, Tiny Dancer, topped the Irish singles charts for a second week.