A BRAVE little girl who touched the heart of Elton John with her battle against a very rare cancer is recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery to remove seven tumours from around her kidney.
Lily-Mae Morrison (4), from Claregalway, Co Galway, underwent the five-hour operation at Crumlin Children's Hospital to remove the large tumour, which was twisted around her kidney, on Monday. During the operation, doctors discovered a further six tumours.
Lily-Mae suffers from neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that affects just one in 100,000 children in Ireland and has only a 30pc to 40pc chance of survival.
Doctors believe the little girl only developed the disease earlier this year, but it has spread so rapidly that she now has stage four of the rare cancer.
The little girl, who has had singer Elton John tweeting about her, urging people to buy a charity single released in her honour, is now recovering in a ward at the hospital before she undergoes the next stage of her treatment in the coming weeks.
Lily-Mae will be placed in isolation for up to 10 weeks as she undergoes gruelling rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Her mum Judith Sibley told of her delight at the success of the operation, which saw 97pc of the main tumour removed. However, she warned that the battle was only beginning.
Even after treatment, the cancer returns in 70pc of cases, when it is generally considered untreatable.
"The extra tumours were a shock but the doctors are happy with the operation. The cancer is still active; we had hoped the chemo would have killed it off but we still have more chemo and radiotherapy," she said.
Judith added that despite Lily-Mae's major operation, she is already up and about.
"She's in really good spirits. She's a little drowsy but she's up and watching television. She really is amazing," said her mum.
Judith added that the attention Lily-Mae's charity single, 'Tiny Dancer', has been getting around the world has helped the family to keep fighting.
"It's just insane, since Elton John asked people to buy it, it has been phenomenal," she added.
The charity organisers of the single are now hoping it can claim the Christmas Number One slot. Information is available at www.fundit.ie/project/a-song-for-lily-mae or at www.idon-ate.ie/372_sunnimae-trust.