herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Brave mum who lost a leg to cancer will run mini marathon for Robyn (5)

A MUM of two who lost a leg to cancer is set to run the mini-marathon to raise funds for a five- year-old girl battling a rare and aggressive disease.

Mandy King, of Shangan Green, in Ballymun, Dublin, was diagnosed with a tumour on her leg on Valentine's Day four years ago.

Within weeks, after failed chemotherapy, she had to have the leg amputated above the knee. Six weeks later, she was fitted with a false limb.

Last year, Mandy raised €30,000 to get herself a new "motorised limb" which bends at the knee -- and now she wants to give something back.

She plans to take part in the mini-marathon on June 7 to help raise €245,000 for little Robyn Smyth who is battling neuroblastoma -- a cancer of the nerve cells.

Robyn's plight was highlighted by the Herald on Christmas Eve when rockabilly singer Imelda May made a heartfelt plea for donations for the little girl.

Robyn, from Whitehall in Dublin, the only child of Bernadette Dornan and her partner Leighton Smyth, has been given just a 20pc-30pc chance of survival despite undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and an operation which removed 98pc of a massive tumour.

The brave little girl has already suffered kidney damage and a slight loss of hearing from chemotherapy.

At the moment she is officially in remission but her cancer has a 70pc-80pc chance of returning and, if this happens, her parents want her to go the Sloan Kettering Cancer Treatment Centre in New York where a potentially life-saving treatment for the disease is being developed.

The deposit alone for the treatment is $350,000 (€245,000).

Mandy, who has known Robyn's father Leighton since childhood, said: "I have two young girls myself -- Toni (13) and Nicole (8). To be honest, they helped me through my cancer. If this had happened to one of them then I wouldn't be as upbeat. I don't know how I would cope.

"I know what it's like trying to raise money. People were so good to me -- I want to give something back."

Mandy, who is in her thirties, is already working out on the treadmill in the gym three days a week and has started walking around Albert College Park, which is near her home. "I walked three times around it the other day. It was tough."

The gutsy mum says she still get pressure pains in her leg from using the limb and cuts at the back of her leg, but hopes to be able to pad it sufficiently for the marathon.

Bernadette thinks Mandy is "absolutely brilliant. I can't believe she's doing the mini-marathon. I'm going to do it myself but I need to get in training. I can hardly walk to the shops," she quipped.

Anyone who wants to sponsor Mandy in the race can contact her on 083-3758979.

Contributions can be made to Robyn's Life Trust, AIB account number 21417099, sort code 93-23-53 or www.robynslife.com.

csheehy@herald.ie

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