Miraculous Megan set to come home -- cancer free
NINE months after the parents of a young Cork girl were told to take her home to die, they are counting the days to when they will return to Ireland from the US with their daughter cured of cancer. More than $1m (€700,000) has been spent on medical fees.
Four-year-old Megan Malone, from Kilnamartyra near Macroom, Co Cork, was diagnosed with a rare cancerous brain tumour last October and given just weeks to live by doctors in Ireland.
However, her devastated parents, John and Sheila, refused to accept this and took her to New York.
Megan was accepted for the specialist Head Start treatment programme at New York's Presbyterian Children's Hospital and the little girl began to show an improvement in her condition almost immediately.
After seven months in New York, the family moved to Boston earlier this month, where Megan continues to undergo radiotherapy treatment.
While Megan has been confirmed as "visually cancer-free", a course of radiotherapy is continuing as a precautionary measure.
Doctors say that while there is no evidence of cancer, radiotherapy will kill any microscopic cancer cells which might still exist.
Megan's father John has confirmed that the family will return to Cork on September 3, after the treatment has been completed.
He said: "We have booked our flight home and we're all very excited about that. It's been a long and difficult road for every member of our family, but especially for Megan.
"We are so proud of her and hope that she will not remember most of it.
"Our wish is that Megan will remain cancer-free and enjoy every minute of a long and happy life. I haven't seen our other children so excited in such a long time."
Tomorrow, Megan will start into her third week of a six-week course of proton-beam radiotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The final cost of Megan's treatment in the US will be over $1.1m (€764,000). The cost of her treatment in New York alone has been negotiated downwards from $1,150,000 (€798,000) to $850,000 (€590,000).
The fee will be paid by an anonymous donor, who was also involved in those negotiations.
Following weeks of talks with the Health Service Executive (HSE) here to see if it would cover the $340,000 (€234,000) cost of Megan's radiotherapy treatment, it agreed to do so.
The HSE had to wire the money to Boston before the treatment could begin.