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Sunday 24 September 2017

‘Emily was a healthy, happy, fun-loving child' – Young family ‘traumatised’ as three-year-old diagnosed with cancer

Three-year-old Emily Duffy from Celbridge, Co Kildare was diagnosed with cancer
Three-year-old Emily Duffy from Celbridge, Co Kildare was diagnosed with cancer
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A family is battling their worst nightmare as they watch their three-year-old ‘princess’ battle with stage 4 high-risk cancer.

Emily Duffy from Celbridge, Co Kildare was diagnosed with high-risk Neuroblastoma on November 2, sending her whole family into “shock and disbelief”.

The rare aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system which affects 1 in 100,000 children in Ireland.

“Emily was a healthy, happy, fun-loving child until six weeks ago when they got the devastating diagnosis,” family friend Kellie Whelan told Independent.ie.

Family and friends have rallied around Emily’s parents, Gillian and Robert, who also have a baby boy Luke
Family and friends have rallied around Emily’s parents, Gillian and Robert, who also have a baby boy Luke

“Unfortunately the relapse rate for this type of cancer is 70pc, so when Emily does recover, it’s likely the cancer may come back.”

Kellie said family and friends have rallied around Emily’s parents, Gillian and Robert.

“They’re a young family, Gillian and Robert have a 12-month-old baby boy Luke too so it’s very hard for them.

“It was traumatising for the family to hear Emily’s diagnosis. Emily just started crèche and it was all very sudden. Emily showed no signs of being unwell in the lead up to her diagnosis and had been to her GP on three separate occasions for a fall she had and it was not detected during the visits.”

Kellie said the family are finding it hard to cope with the sudden diagnosis and everyone is trying their best to raise vital funds for little Emily.

“In the first 48 hours of fundraising we raised over €20,000. We have received amazing support and are now over the €50k mark. We’re all trying to give Emily the best chance at beating this.”

A fundraising campaign has been launched to help Emily's treatment plan
A fundraising campaign has been launched to help Emily's treatment plan

The family need to raise over €300,000 to fund vital treatment in the US for Emily.

"The harsh reality is we are fundraising to try and raise over €300,000 as we may need to send Emily to the US to take part in a clinical trial treatment to prevent relapse."

Emily who is undergoing a two-year treatment plan at Crumlin has had four chemotherapy sessions and a blood transfusion.

"Emily is only three and the treatment is very aggressive so you can only imagine how this feels for her parents to sit and watch feeling helpless.”

Kellie said that Emily only wears princess dresses and loves Disney’s Frozen.

“She loves everything princess, our friends got pink wristbands with 'A Princess Called Emily' printed on them to help raise awareness.

“It’s very tough for the family going to visit her when she is in hospital suffering instead of seeing their active, happy three-year-old running around in her princess dresses.”

To donate to Emily's treatment fund you can donate here

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