Dublin teen who has been battling cancer for 12 years goes to US for treatment

Dublin teen who has been battling cancer for 12 years goes to US for treatment
Robyn Smyth

Battling cancer for 12 years, young Dublin girl Robyn Smyth faces a new fight against the disease as she flies out to the US today.

The girl, 14, has suffered a relapse as the rare cancer has returned to her bone marrow, brain, jaw, back and pelvis. She became the first Irish person to undergo groundbreaking cancer treatment in New York last year.

Robyn, from Whitehall in Dublin, has been fighting the aggressive cancer, neuroblastoma, for 12 years and had received four of seven vaccines at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York but they were not working to stave off any re-occurrences.

She is now returning to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan, where Robyn had treatment for three years prior to visiting the New York Cancer Centre.

“Robyn’s results from her biopsy are in and we hope to add another new type of oral medication. We need to see what's going on before we do this so Robyn will be scanned on Thursday, “ said Robyn’s Mum Bernadette Dornan,

“Please send positive thoughts, we are hoping what she's on is working as it's tolerable so far. If anyone can do a fundraiser for Robyn we would really appreciate it. The cost all these flights, scans and medication will add up fast.

The second-year secondary school student and her mother Bernadette Dornan will be in Michigan for several days. Ms Dornan revealed that after treatment in Michigan the family hopes to bring the teenager to Germany to start on another type of groundbreaking treatment.

“We have now consulted with a hospital in Germany who are willing to take her but they want her to be a bit stronger so she will have to undergo chemotherapy again to get it under control if we can in Michigan.

“German medics can use another groundbreaking treatment where mine or her Dad’s immune system are tested to see if they are compatible with hers. If they are, then it can be transferred to Robyn. That would be an amazing outcome if we can get to that stage so we will continue battling.

Our journey to keep Robyn with us has taken so many different paths, over all of these years. Of course, we are very upset over this latest set-back but our resolve is great and we will get her through this again.

“She had been doing so well so and that is why we were shocked with the news that the cancer spots were worse than we thought they would be. The cancer is back in her bone marrow, brain, jaw, back and pelvis.

“No part of this cancer fight, which has taken over our lives for so long, ever, ever gets any easier and it’s taken its toll on all of us. We don’t know what normal life is like anymore without the word cancer being mentioned.”

Last June, Bernadette made an emotional outpouring for the public’s financial help as her attempts to raise €326,000 for Robyn’s medical treatment were failing.

Bernadette’s fundraising had stalled at €70,000 but following her appeal, Erin McGregor, sister of UFC star Conor, helped to start a floss dance challenge in a desperate bid to help save Robyn’s life. Hundreds of thousands of euro was donated by the public as a result.

“Our fundraising drive has been given another boost as two bloggers have chosen Robyn to benefit from a raffle which could be worth several thousand euro to us.

We feel so bad for having to ask so many people for financial help over all these years but it’s thanks to them that Robyn has been able to have all of this treatment.

When the Dublin girl’s chances of survival dropped to five%, four years ago and she was told by Irish doctors to bring her home to die, that her family decided to fundraise to take her to the US for the first time.

In between her visits to the US, of which she has been on almost 90 flights since 2015, Robyn continues to take chemotherapy tablets and has blood tests and other related treatment at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin.

Donations can be made on robynslife@live.com, idonate.ie/robynslife and gofundme.com/robynslife.

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