Tributes as Megan, 5, loses her cancer fight

Tributes poured in last night for little Cork girl who lost her brave battle against a rare cancer.

The devastated parents of 5-year-old Megan Malone said their hearts were “truly broken” following her death, surrounded by her family, in a New York hospital on Wednesday night.

“Our beautiful little princess Megan lost her brave fight for life,” said her dad John.

Writing on the health social network CaringBridge, he said: “She battled her terrible disease for over 26 months and it finally got the better of her little body and soul.

“We are so, so devastated. I cannot detail her passing right now.

“Words for once will not come out. Our hearts are truly broken. We will never ever forget you Megan.

“We love you so, so much. No more suffering, no more pain.

“Poor, poor little darling Megan, may you rest in peace.”

Megan, from Kilnamartyra near Macroom, Co Cork, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour called sPNET medullablastoma in Oct 2010. It was later discovered that the cancer had spread to her spine.

She was given a less than 20% chance of survival, and her parents, John and Sheila, were advised to take her home to die.

However, they sought a second opinion and decided to move the family to the US in Dec 2010 so Megan could have specialist treatment at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.

The HSE covered over €200,000 of the costs of the treatment, while an anonymous donor paid over €500,000 to cover the costs of her treatment in New York.

Megan responded well to intense chemotherapy treatment in New York and to radiotherapy in Boston.

She was given the all-clear in Jul 2011, and after eight months of treatment, the family returned to Ireland in early Sept 2011, with Megan undergoing an MRI scan every three months.

But last January, the family was rocked again when it was discovered that the tumours had returned to her brain and spine. The family returned to the US in July for more treatment but Megan died on Wednesday night.

Her aunt, Áine Watts, said: “The entire family and extended family are devastated by losing Megan who was so, so brave all through her illness. Megan will be sadly missed; we’ll miss her little face, beautiful smile and personality.”

Megan’s remains will repose in St Lachteen’s Church in Kilnamartyra from 6pm tonight with burial in St Gobnait’s Cemetery, Ballyvourney, after 2pm Mass of the Angels tomorrow.

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