herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Brave Robyn (7) beats cancer to celebrate her birthday in style

A little Dublin girl who defied medical odds to beat a rare form of cancer has celebrated her seventh birthday.

Robyn Smyth from Whitehall, Dublin, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma -- a cancer of the nerve cells -- when she was just five.

She underwent surgery to remove a massive tumour and had chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell treatment.

And her mum Bernadette has proudly told the Herald that Robyn is now fighting fit.

"She started chemo, and then she had surgery to remove the tumour, and she had a stem cell transplant because they were giving her such high doses of chemo. She's in remission but her chances stay the same because the chances of a relapse are 70pc to 80pc.

"She was so sick and I was in hospital with her every day, and I'd go home only for food and to get a shower. I didn't dwell on getting upset because she needed looking after.

"She needed to be tube fed. And for the first 80 days of chemo she needed an injection. I had to give them to her in her leg and I hated doing that to her. I'd have to have two people to hold her down."

Robyn even lost the ability to walk for four months and her mum tries to ensure that Robyn keeps her muscles active.







CHEMO

"We all kept her going, we didn't let her lie around and be sick. There was a stage though where she couldn't walk. One of the chemo drugs tightens the ankles, and she was very weak with it.

"Her ankles had seized up and she had to sleep with a splint to straighten her leg."

Robyn's birthday was celebrated in style with both a 'hummer' and a party bus.

"We had a party bus on the day of her birthday and then a scouts hall with a big inflatable slide and obstacle course. And we got a hummer to bring her over there with friends."

Bernadette is fundraising for possible treatment in America, which Robyn may need to receive if her cancer returns.

"When she got better I thought, what would I do if she gets sick again. I looked into it and I saw that a lot of families in the UK were going to the US if they got a relapse.

"We've raised €54,000 at the moment, but the treatment costs €350,000 in America."

Anyone who wants to contribute can donate to Robyn's Life Trust, AIB account number 21417099, sort code 93-23-53 or www.robynslife.com.

hnews@herald.ie

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