Busker plays his heart out to raise €6,000 for Lily-Mae's cancer fight
THE father of a young girl fighting a rare cancer was reduced to tears when a stranger raised over €6,000 for her treatment by busking last week.
Lily-Mae Morrison (4), from Claregalway, Co Galway, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma just six weeks ago.
The disease, which affects 1 in 100,000 children in Ireland, has spread rapidly and the little Galway girl now has stage four of the rare cancer.
"Doctors think she probably only had it for about three months when it was caught, but in that time it's gone through her entire body. We were told if we hadn't caught it it would have killed her in another six weeks," Leighton Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said he was overwhelmed with the generosity of the public since setting up the Sunni-Mae Trust, a fund for Lily-Mae, earlier this month.
However, they were unaware that Oranmore musician Jamie Harrison (21) had also taken up their appeal -- until a rare day out in Galway last week.
"I was walking down Shop Street and saw Jamie busking with a sign for Lily-Mae. The response from the public, I've never seen anything like it. They were throwing money at him. I just stood there in tears," said Leighton.
Mr Harrison heard of Lily-Mae's plight through his sister and decided to do what he could to help.
"I spent four days busking during the Volvo (Ocean Race) and the support was amazing," he said.
The little girl is receiving chemo in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin with her mum Judith Sibley at her side.
She must also undergo an operation to remove a tumour from her back.
Yet despite her ordeal, the little girl is staying upbeat.
"We're trying to be as honest as possible with her. We don't want her to be afraid. She knows she's sick but she's just been brilliant.
To help Lily-Mae by donating to the Sunni-Mae Trust, go to www.idonate.ie/ 372_sunni-mae-trust.html, or telephone (086) 408 9074.