Claregalway’s Tiny Dancer Lily-Mae Morrison arrived in London yesterday to start the next phase in her battle against neuroblastoma.
The brave four-year old met with a new medical team in the UK, where she will begin preparations for groundbreaking Intensely Moderated Arc Therapy (IMAT).
This latest step in Lily-Mae’s treatment follows a gruelling period of chemotherapy at Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin, which was deemed a success by doctors in January.
Speaking to the Galway Independent this week, Lily-Mae’s mother, Judith said she was “absolutely thrilled” that Lily-Mae had gotten the go-ahead for the innovative treatment, as it would have a much less severe effect on her body.
“In Ireland, her next step would have been fourteen sessions of radiotherapy; it’s the same in London, but the difference is that this machine will hit the tumour bed at a much higher level than the surrounding healthy tissue and bone,” she explained.
“It’s fantastic because there would have been a lot of damage to her body if we’d gone ahead with the traditional therapy.”
Lily-Mae has been feeling well recently and had been “very excited” about travelling on the plane to London on Tuesday, she said.
The IMAT treatment has only been available in Europe in the last 18 months and the cost of Lily-Mae’s course of therapy is being funded by the HSE. During this visit, a body mould will be created to administer the radiotherapy and doctors are hoping that the treatment will help to prevent the neuroblastoma returning the future.
Judith said the fitting of the mould would also identify whether Lily-Mae would need to undergo general anaesthetic during her treatment and, if not, the process would be “just a few minutes a day and she won’t be sick”.
The treatment will begin in April and continue for three weeks before Lily-Mae begins a six-month course of immuno-therapy, which will change her immune system to fight the condition.
Neuroblastoma has a relapse rate of 70% in the first two years after treatment and the cutting-edge trials in Europe and America that would be needed to treat Lily-Mae if the neuroblastoma reoccurs are estimated to cost in the region of €500,000.
Over €250,000 has been raised by the Sunni Mae Trust since the fundraising campaign began last year with the release of the Tiny Dancer charity single.
“The goal is that we don’t have to use the money and we can give it all to the Neuroblastoma Society. I hope, I hope. I hope that that is the case,” said Judith.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so at www.idonate.ie/lily.