'Robyn in remission and home at Christmas is the best gift', says mother
The mother of a Dublin teenager who is beating the odds to overcome cancer has spoken of her renewed hope as the family prepares for Christmas.
Robyn Smith has been undergoing ground-breaking medical treatment in the US since August, when she became the first Irish person accepted for a pioneering vaccine trial in New York.
The 14-year-old has been battling the aggressive childhood cancer neuroblastoma since the age of three, and has spent much of her life undergoing treatment.
But despite relapsing three times, she had her first clear scans in February this year - allowing her to join the experimental vaccine trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in the US.
Her mother, Bernadette Dornan, said the progress to date was positive news ahead of Christmas and the New Year.
Bernadette, from Whitehall, in north Dublin, said: "To have Robyn in remission and at home at this time of year is fantastic, and the best Christmas present I could wish for.
"We're happy with the trial and from what I've seen a lot of kids who are on it are responding very well.
"When I think back to last Christmas, we were in a very different place, because Robyn wasn't clear and was on chemo at the time.
"The only concern at the moment is that she had another scan earlier this month, and there was a suspicious spot on her spine. But the doctors are not overly concerned and don't think there's any reason to panic. But obviously we just need to get that checked further."
Robyn was once given just a 5pc chance of survival, but Bernadette - who also has a seven-year-old daughter called Millie - feels more positive than ever, adding: "It's going to be a great Christmas. We've a lot to celebrate this year."