'Tiny Dancer' Lily-Mae now cancer-free after latest US medical trial
IT'S been a long road for Ireland's tiny dancer but brave Lily-Mae Morrison has just been declared cancer-free by her US doctors.
The six-year-old travelled to Michigan with her dad Leighton this week to undergo a routine scan as part of the medical trial she is taking part in over there.
Her delighted mum Judith was waiting anxiously at their Galway home to hear the news.
"The news is as fantastic as it gets for us at the minute. There is such a high relapse rate with Neuroblastoma and the results just make us even more confident about the trial," she told the Herald.
"Although there are no assurances with the trial, we believe the highest time to relapse is in the first 18 months so we are half-way there already," she added.
Lily-Mae captured the nation's heart when her parents released a cover of Elton John's Tiny Dancer, to raise funds for her care, which soared to number two in the music charts.
She was just four when she was diagnosed with the rare form of cancer. The brave little girl is undergoing ground-breaking treatment as part of a trial in the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan.
She is the first European child to receive the treatment called DMFO which is designed for children whose cancer is in remission. Lily-Mae must travel to the US every three months for two years.
At home she takes drugs that have no side-effects at all.
This trip is the first she has taken without her mum but the courageous dancer is keeping her mum up-to-date with regular video calls.
"Parents of children with cancer call the feeling of waiting for results 'scan-xiety' and I had it really bad because it was my first time not to be with her," her mum revealed.
Lily-Mae and her dad will be back in Ireland next Wednesday but her mum said that celebrations will be kept very ordinary.
"We just love enjoying the normal family things, she is happy playing outside and being a normal kid," her mum admitted.
Before her latest US trip Lily-Mae was invited as a VIP guest to Dublin Zoo. "It was such a treat for her to meet all the zoo keepers, because we watch them on RTE and she enjoyed herself so much," Judith said.
"She's not so much a tiny dancer anymore, she is getting really grown up," said her proud mum.