A major fundraising drive is under way to finance treatment abroad for a young city child who is suffering from a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.
Grace Kenneally from Tirellan Heights who was given two weeks to live earlier this year, continues to battle neuroblastoma, with which she was diagnosed four years ago.
The Saving Grace Trust, which was set up last month, aims to raise €250,000 to fund treatment abroad for the nine-year-old. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy for the third time at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
Her mother Ethna, who is a single parent, says Grace, an only child, needs public support if she is to have any real chance of survival.
“Having been diagnosed at only five years old, she has been suffering for almost half of her life. Yet she always smiles through everything and could really teach the adults around her a thing or two about life. Palliative care was offered at Crumlin this year already, when Grace was given two weeks to live, and she has since bounced back.
“She has a recurring tumour in her abdomen, which is attached to the aorta, making surgery extremely difficult. To date, the chemotherapy that has been administered to Grace, has helped to shrink the tumour, but it has not addressed her underlying illness. The treatments that are currently available in Ireland, such as chemotherapy, radiation, etc, will not give Grace her best chance of survival. She simply will not live if we do not raise enough money to send her abroad for treatment or an innovative clinical trial.”
The chemotherapy has already taken its toll on her daughter and her extended family are gravely concerned about “how much more Grace’s little body can take”.
“Especially since this is her third time to receive it. We do not want her to have to go through chemotherapy again for a fourth time, if the tumour were to return.
“Some fundraising efforts have already taken place in Galway city to raise awareness of Grace and her illness, and to support the expenses incurred. But due to the new mandate and the urgency required, we have now launched a new campaign, ‘Saving Grace’ with a target of €250,000. We need to be ready and to have the money in place for when she is well enough to travel. We have a small window of opportunity, possibly three to six months, and we need the public’s help. The money raised will go towards Grace and her needed treatments. Even if she survives, it is well known that child cancer sufferers may have a lifetime of side effects and may need funds for treatment long term.”