Sunday 24 March 2019

Robyn's mum delighted as target for vital US treatment is reached

Robyn with mum Bernadette and sister Millie
Robyn with mum Bernadette and sister Millie

A mother who made desperate pleas for the public's help in a bid to keep her daughter alive is over the moon after reaching the fundraising target to get "ground-breaking" treatment.

Bernadette Dornan Smyth never expected her emotional outpouring over attempts to raise €326,000 for her 13-year-old daughter Robyn's medical care would inspire donations.

The family from Whitehall will travel to the US on Wednesday for ground-breaking treatment where Robyn will be the first Irish person to be admitted onto the treatment trial after fighting the aggressive cancer, neuroblastoma, since the age of three.

Robyn was accepted on the new trial treatment at the New York hospital several months ago following two scans while attending the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan.

However, not having the money to pay for the treatment meant it could not go ahead and as a result Robyn's health started to deteriorate.

Bernadette can't stop worrying about the financial costs after the upfront bill for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York is paid.

"We reached the magic mark of having enough money to pay for the ground-breaking trial treatment over the weekend and all of the family can't put into words how grateful and relieved we are," Bernadette said.


"My head was spinning at the thought of getting Robyn this far and not being able to get her on the trial that could potentially put an end to this monster. We don't know what the future holds, but because of you we have hope.

"We are all so relieved but worried too. After we make the upfront payment to the hospital then there will be no money left.

"So I'm pleading with people to keep donating as there will be non-stop flight and living costs while in the US. Obviously we will be using up as much as our personal finances as well.

Robyn has been fighting the aggressive cancer since she was three
Robyn has been fighting the aggressive cancer since she was three

"I've come this far for my daughter who doesn't know what it's like to live a life without sickness and I'll fight and fight to keep with us.

"Our flight on Wednesday can't come half soon enough. The hospital's medical team will meet with Robyn on Thursday so we are really hoping they are optimistic.

"Robyn's health battles have obviously affected our family on every level over the years and it hasn't been easy, but it has made us strong too, and we will never give up on her."

Up until last month fundraising had stalled and just €70,000 had been raised. The plea led to Erin McGregor, sister of UFC star Conor, starting a floss dance challenge in a desperate bid to help save Robyn's life, whom she had been secretly helping.

Donations can be made on robynslife@live.com, idonate.ie/robynslife and gofundme.com/robynslife.

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