Brave Robyn needs your 'thoughts and prayers'
A little girl who has cheated death on several occasions, as she bravely battled cancer for the past nine years, has suffered a worrying setback.
Robyn Smyth (12), from Whitehall in Dublin, has been battling neuroblastoma since the age of three.
Robyn was given a 20pc to 30pc chance of surviving when she was first diagnosed.
Her mum, Bernadette, discovered a lump on Robyn's face - and a scan showed it was a tumour that had protruded through her jaw bone.
Following years of treatment, Robyn went into remission, but the cancer returned in 2013 and at various times since, with it showing up in her spine, pelvis and legs.
It was when her chances of survival dropped to 5pc that her family decided to fundraise to take her to the US and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan, but so far it has cost hundreds and thousands of euro.
Plucky Robyn - who made her Confirmation earlier this year - was on a routine hospital visit last week due to low blood pressure.
Doctors at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, in Crumlin, found she was seriously ill, with fluid around her heart.
"Positive thoughts and prayers [are] needed right now," said Bernadette.
"Robyn feels well but was admitted… due to low blood pressure and high heart rate. She never fails to try and smile through all of this.
"Their first concern was that these are the early symptoms of sepsis, and sepsis is serious.
"Robyn had an echo test and that's when they discovered she had a pericardial effusion [water in the sac around her heart]. We don't know how this happened. We don't have all the answers.
"Doctors took her into theatre for urgent surgery yesterday and put a drain in.
"Last January, Robyn almost died having what should have been a routine procedure, so we are obviously nervous.
"I explained to Robyn about the drain, she was scared but OK with it once she was [put] to sleep. They took out 160ml of fluid, which looked like blood, but it has been sent off to be tested and hopefully that will give us more answers.
"The cause of the fluid could also be that she is so underweight and malnourished. This is a huge concern with Robyn, so we are doing our best to get on top of that," she added.
"We are scared right now because we feel Robyn is defenceless against her disease. All meds have stopped and Robyn will not be able to have any treatment until we get her a bit stronger.
"We are hoping the neuroblastoma remains stable while getting all this under control.
"I have hope and I will not give up. I know it's possible to get her back on track and get her into remission. I'm always thinking ahead but we have to.
"If Robyn gets into remission we need to be able to get her on the next available trial that is having good success with keeping kids in remission.
"This is our goal. Getting her clear and doing everything we can to keep her that way.
"Robyn has been travelling to America since 2015. I'm so grateful to everyone who donated and volunteered on numerous charity events for this, because without this help Robyn wouldn't get these opportunities.
"We need to be ready when Robyn gets clear. We need to have the funds available for the next trial. Please keep helping. We love Robyn so much. Her fight is our fight."
Donations can be made to robynslife.com or gofundme.com/robynslife.