The family of a nine-year-old girl fighting a rare form of cancer will meet experts in the UK this weekend to discuss ways of improving her chances of recovery.
Ethna and Katherine Kenneally, the mother and aunt of Grace, who was diagnosed four years ago with neuroblastoma - a childhood cancer - will attend a conference on the condition in London. They hope Grace will be well enough to attend.
They will meet trial doctors at the event who will review her medical records and define the best treatment for her when she goes into remission.
Grace, who lives in Tirellan Heights, is a patient at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin. It has been an uphill battle for the happy-go-lucky only child. Despite extensive treatment she has had two relapses and is now at stage four, the worst stage, of this aggressive cancer. This is her third time undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Her mother, a single parent and former payroll manager, believes that a clinical trial in Germany or the United States may be the best option to save her little girl’s life.
Ethna describes neuroblastoma as a “scary, aggressive and unpredictable” disease. “It is a cancer of the nervous system so anywhere there are nerves it can pop up.”
Grace’s aunt, Katherine, set up a legal trust in July to raise funds to help Grace receive treatment abroad. She says the support from the Galway public has been outstanding.
“People amaze us more each day. So many events have been organised on Grace’s behalf. Recently the fund account reached the first milestone of €100,000 and the Kenneally family is looking at a positive outcome for Grace.”
Grace has a four per cent chance of survival in Ireland due to the fact that her cancer has relapsed twice already. She has a high risk of relapsing again.
“To increase Grace’s chances for a future we plan to travel and meet neuroblastoma experts abroad and to identify the next steps. Available trials for the condition aim to block the disease recurring. We will travel to London this month to a neuroblastoma conference, hosted by the NCCA UK, to help identify next steps for Grace and to meet with some of the top neuroblastoma doctors in the world, from the US, UK, and Germany.”
Upcoming fundraising events
A night of country dancing with Jason Travers in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel on Friday. Tickets are on sale from www.SavingGrace.ie as well as on the door.
Paul Grealish will give the proceeds from all teas and coffees bought tomorrow (Friday ) at the King’s Head to the Saving Grace Trust and he will match the amount raised.
Carol singing on Friday, December 12 on Shop Street from 3.30 to 7.30pm.
A diecast model event will take place on Sunday December 28 at the Menlo Park Hotel.
Connemarathon April 2015. To register log on to www.iregister.ie/connemarathonforsavinggrace/ You can find out more on www.SavingGrace.ie, find Saving Grace on Facebook or @SavingGracy on Twitter. You can also contact Saving Grace on [email protected] or telephone (087 ) 9048312.
All donations are welcome: www.iDonate.ie/SavingGrace (the fundraisers would even love to receive loose coins ).