herald

Sunday 17 November 2019

Brave Emily has special pal to help in second cancer fight

Six-year-old Emily Duffy and her new ‘bestie’ Lolly settle in for treatment in hospital this week
Six-year-old Emily Duffy and her new ‘bestie’ Lolly settle in for treatment in hospital this week

A little girl who is fighting cancer for the second time is one of the first Irish children to get a unique doll without hair.

The 'survivor doll' was bought in Walmart in America, and is part of the 'My Life' range.

Emily Duffy's mum Gillian said that when the little girl was three years old and being treated for cancer for the first time, "she was too small to realise about hair or hair loss".

Important

"Now she has this doll that she has called Lolly, she understands more of what is going on and she knows her hair is going to fall out again," she said.

"She told me Lolly is her new 'bestie' and she said she is beautiful. She has not let her out of her sight since she got her."

Gillian said that having a doll without hair is so important because, "obviously all of the shops are full of dolls with hair, so it is great to have a doll that when you go to St John's Ward it looks like all the children on the ward".

Emily was first diagnosed in November 2016 with high risk stage 4 neuroblastoma and completed her treatment in September 2018.

However a routine scan last month found she had suffered a relapse.

Emily (6), of Celbridge, Co Kildare, is now on a second programme of treatment that will last up to two years.

Gillian said: "When her hair starts to fall out again she will be able to relate a lot more to the doll. It is a great thing for her because she has already told us she does not want to lose her hair.

"We had to explain to her that she will lose it and now she says my hair will be the same as Lolly's."

The idea to bring the dolls to Ireland came from Jimmy Norman, whose daughter Aoibheann was the inspiration for the childhood cancer charity Aoibheann's Pink Tie (APT).

"I believe that the dolls will help children and ease the anxiety of losing their hair," he said. I also felt that Aoibheann would have loved one and that really drove me on to make this happen."

Delivered

He has been shocked at the huge support he has had finding and transporting the dolls to Ireland. In America some of those helping were Cure Bears, Canvas of Hope and Nick's Lilly Pad.

People in New York got a shipment of 14 dolls together and ensured they arrived in Dublin safely last week. APT delivered one of them to Emily over the bank holiday weekend.

Mr Norman said DHL will bring a shipment from Texas to Dublin and in doing so will save the charity over €8,000 in shipping costs.

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