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Friday 22 August 2014

Olly Murs sends special video message to Irish fan (5) battling cancer

Freya Drohan

Published 09/06/2014 | 12:35

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Merryn Lacy Pic: Facebook
Merryn Lacy Pic: Facebook
Merryn Lacey Pic: Facebook

Pop singer Olly Murs has sent a heartfelt video to a young Irish fan who is battling an aggressive form of cancer.

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The chart topper recorded the surprise message for Merryn Lacy (5), praising her as a “great character, full of life, and great craic” before urging people to get behind a fundraising drive.

Olly’s video was played to a packed house at the ‘Strictly Merryn’ charity event held in The Wright Venue in Swords, North County Dublin, on Saturday night.

“Merryn loved it, and we were fortunate that she was well enough to attend and was one of the judges on the night with her score cards,” her dad Michael told the independent.ie.

Olly took some time out of the studios where he is recording his fourth album.

The former X Factor contestant is on the verge of breaking the US market after touring with One Direction last year and appearing on 'Dancing With the Stars' and '90210'.

Brave Merryn, from Donabate, North County Dublin, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma - a childhood cancer of the nervous system - last July.

Her dad Michael has praised the incredible support of “friends of ours, neighbours, teachers, people we didn’t even know who have connected and been a great support”..

The junior infant pupil in Balbriggan Educate Together National School, where her mother Jenny was a teacher, is currently on her third round of chemotherapy.

Merryn still goes to school whenever she is well enough, and her dad says the outside is not reflecting what’s going on inside:

“She is baffling the consultants- she looks so well, her hair is growing back, and she has more energy than myself and Jenny combined, she’s the first one awake and she’ll be out playing until eight or nine pm tonight”

The chances of relapse following successful treatment are incredibly high, up to 70pc.

“We are fundraising in the event that this happens, so we have the money to go and get treatment abroad, because there are very few options here. Other families have gone through this with their children and then have had to scramble to afford to travel in the case of relapse,” her determined dad said.

The family’s target is €500,000, and June is a busy month with events in Dublin, Derry and Wicklow.

“This month in Bray, there’s a family fun day and football match with Damien Duff and also a white collar event where Pete Taylor will be helping make the selections”.

Michael, a Bray native, said the support from high profile celebrities including Roy Keane, Katie Taylor, and the Irish rugby team has been invaluable at raising awareness; “Ger Lyons even named a horse after her!”

Other families with children fighting Neuroblastoma have also been very supportive to the Lacys:

“Judith, Lily Mae Morrisson’s mum, rings the odd time and she’s so knowledgeable on the road we’re going down, she knows what options are available worldwide, and the other families we meet in Crumlin are really helpful too.”

For Michael, Jenny, Merryn and her little sister Cora (3), this is “very real and very scary”.

“Merryn had an operation to remove a primary tumour in March. There’s still the disease in her bone marrow and her legs, hip, head and shoulder. She’s on day four of chemo now - there’s five days of chemo per month- and she’ll have more scans in July”

“We know there’s further treatment to come but it’s very difficult to think ahead, we’re taking it one week at a time”.

To find out more about Merryn’s appeal, visit merrynlacy.com or facebook.com/merrynlacy

Irish Independent

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