Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is to try and help a Tralee girl who is being forced to travel to Cork for maintenance chemotherapy due to the lack of paediatric oncology services at UHK.
The case raised in the Dáil last week by Deputy Pa Daly was described as “awful and truly heart-breaking” by the Health Minister.
Tralee girl Lily Anna (7) and her parents, Lorraine and Dodi, have to make the arduous 230km four-hour journey to Cork University Hospital for maintenance chemotherapy once a week despite living only 10 minutes from University Hospital Kerry.
UHK does not have paediatric oncology services, and such is the frustration by the Sebest family at the lack of such vital services locally, they have launched a campaign to try and remedy the situation, not just for Lily Anna but several other families who are in the same position.
Speaking to The Kerryman in recent weeks, Lorraine said that families don’t need full oncology services, just a room to provide maintenance chemotherapy so they don’t have to travel every week to Cork.
Lily Anna was rushed to Crumlin Children’s Hospital just days after her seventh birthday last July.
Lily Anna was subsequently diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in her hand.
She has since rang the bell at Crumlin Hospital in Dublin to mark a milestone in her intensive cancer battle. Now she must undergo maintenance chemo in the Mercy Hospital in Cork but must also attend UHK for bloods and other basic procedures before doing so.
Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly raised the family’s plight last week and called on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to provide paediatric oncology maintenance in University Hospital Kerry for Lily Anna.
Minister Donnelly said he would raise her case with the HSE and the Department of Health.
“I thank the Deputy for raising the case. It sounds awful and truly heart-breaking. Will the Deputy revert to me directly with the details? I will talk to the Department and the HSE and anything that can be done will be done. It does not mean they will be able to provide everything the family needs and in an ideal world would have, but we will look at it immediately and whatever can be done, we will act,” he said.