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Friday 25 July 2014

Saving Grace: Galway girl battles neuroblastoma three times but requires treatment abroad to save her life

Anita McSorley

Published 06/07/2014|14:32

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Nine-year-old Grace Kenneally
Grace Kenneally and her mother Ethna.

Nine-year-old Grace Kenneally has defied all expectations by overcoming rare cancer neuroblastoma three times.

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The Galway girl has been battling cancer for almost half of her life.

In April of this year she was given just two weeks to live after getting cancer for the third time, but she miraculously bounced back.

Grace is currently undergoing chemotherapy for the third time at Crumlin Children’s Hospital, which has helped to shrink the tumour, but not her underlying illnesses.

Her devoted family and friends are working to urgently raise funds so she can undergo the treatment that could save her life.

Her aunt Katherine told independent.ie that the little girl truly is an "Amazing Grace".

“We almost lost Grace this year. We were very worried about it – they had tried before and they managed to get a certain percentage of it.

“We were hopeful though. She’s such a strong child. So strong willed - and she always has been since she was a baby,” Katherine told Independent.ie.

The recurring tumour in her abdomen, which is attached to the aorta, makes surgery extremely difficult.

“The treatments that are currently available in Ireland, such as chemotherapy, radiation etc will not give Grace her best chance of survival."

“She simply will not live if we do not raise enough money to send her abroad for treatment.”

The disease has been hard for all her family, especially her mum, Ethna.

“Sometimes I literally have to detach myself from it and launch myself into the fundraising side of it. It’s very upsetting. It’s very hard on her mum, Ethna."

"She’s a single mum as well. It’s hard on my parents too. She loves her nanna and granda (Nana and Daideo),” Katherine said.

Some fundraising efforts have already taken place around Galway city on a small scale to raise awareness of Grace and to support the day-to-day expenses, but due to the urgency of the situation the Saving Grace campaign has been set up with a target of €250,000.

“We need to be ready and to have the money in place for when she is well enough to travel. We have a small window of opportunity, possibly three to six months. The money raised will go towards Grace and her needed treatments.”

Grace also loves singing and is the youngest member of a cancer choir in the West of Ireland. She is one of 200 members of the Something To Sing About choir.

“Grace loves singing. She is a lovely singer,” said her aunt.

To donate to the campaign, see www.iDonate.ie/SavingGrace

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