'We know we can't do nothing' - Mum's plea to raise life-changing funds for daughter (13)
The family of a 13-year-old girl who has battled cancer since the age of three are desperately calling on the public to help get her to New York for treatment.
Robyn Smyth (13) has fought neuroblastoma four times since she was first diagnosed in 2007.
Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue. It's most commonly discovered in children under the age of five, and almost 10 new cases are diagnosed in Ireland every year.
Although she received a clear scan in April, Robyn's parents are eager to get her from their home in Whitehall, Dublin to New York for a vaccine trial that could save her life.
"We've gotten clear results but it keeps coming back, and we know it will be back. We know we can't do nothing, she's currently on two inhibitor drugs as well as chemotherapy," her mother Bernadette told Independent.ie.
"We're afraid to take her off the medication because she's on them so long that her blood count is so low, and her bone marrow is tired. We're nervous she'll get to a point where we won't be able to get to New York, we need to get there sooner rather than later."
Bernadette explained that although no exact cost has been provided to them yet, consultants have estimated at least €250,000 for the vaccine trial.
"Robyn hasn't had immunotherapy yet, which the doctors in New York recommend she should do first. We're trying to ask if she can go without it. If they insist, that’s adding another €120,000 on to the bill.
"That €250k is before we even pay for flights and accommodation. We've been fundraising for years now, we do have some funds but we're still way off."
When Robyn was first diagnosed, doctors gave her a 30pc chance of survival. The brave teenager is still in school but often feels ill from her medication, Bernadette explains.
"I get up every day at 5am to give her the medication early so that she doesn’t have to feel sick in school. Other than that, she has low energy levels of course but she's doing okay."
Donations to Robyn's cause can be made here.