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Mum's agony as Aaliyah (4) fights rare brain cancer

THIS is the brave little Dublin girl who is battling a rare brain tumour.

Little Aaliyah Collins (4) from Clondalkin is one of only two people in the country with the rare brain tumour, which is continuing to grow despite intensive chemotherapy.

Despite her ordeal, the happy little girl has returned to school and is determined to fight the tumour.

Aaliyah was diagnosed with Thalamic High Grade Glioma (HGG) shortly after Christmas, after she suffered a seizure on St Stephen's Day and was rushed to Tallaght hospital.

Her mum, Denise, told the Herald that she initially thought Aaliyah had picked up the vomiting bug from her sister Chloe.

However, when Aaliyah began to have a fit the mum-of-three called an ambulance.

The little girl's seizure continued for up to 15 minutes until she began treatment in Tallaght hospital, her mum revealed.

After a few days, Aaliyah was transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital, where an MRI scan revealed the tumour. Aaliyah has grade-three HGG, one of its most serious forms.

"I just kept thinking 'this is not happening to me, this is not happening to my daughter'," said Denise.

Aaliyah underwent brain surgery in January where doctors had hoped to remove up to 80pc of the tumour. But the operation was more difficult than expected and surgeons were only able to remove a quarter of the growth.

Since then she has undergone an intensive course of chemotherapy at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

However, the family received a fresh blow last month when a scan showed the tumour was bigger than when first discovered.

Now the little girl is now on a new course of chemotherapy in a bid to stop further growth. Doctors also plan to begin radiotherapy in the near future.

Denise said breaking the news to Aaliyah's brother and sister, Chloe (7) and Matthew (6), had been difficult. "They don't really understand what's going on, Matthew came in the other day and asked me what cancer was,"she said.

Aaliyah is dealing with the whole ordeal well, according to her mum. But she added that it was difficult when children in the street commented on her loss of hair. Friends and family have rallied around and are now raising funds for the family.

Anyone who wishes to donate can do so via Bank of Ireland, sort code 90-01-21, account number 96679600.