Mum finding it 'impossible' to raise funds to keep daughter alive after 10 year cancer fight

A Mum, whose daughter has lived more than half of her fighting to stay alive, has revealed she is finding it “impossible” to raise the necessary funds to continue with her vital medical treatment in the US.

13-year-old Robyn Smyth, from Whitehall in Dublin, has been fighting the aggressive cancer, neuroblastoma, since the age of three.

Robyn Smyth.

The brave teenager was given just a 30% chance of surviving when she was first diagnosed 10 years ago.

It was when the Dublin girl’s chances of survival dropped to 5%, three years ago and was told by Irish doctors to bring her home to die, that her family decided to fundraise to take her to US-based Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan.

Robyn’s family and friends have fundraised tirelessly to raise several hundred thousand euro to cover medical costs as they arise.

But Robyn’s Mum Bernadette revealed she cannot do any more for her daughter without the funds despite the teenager having two good scans in the US over the past several months.

The family are facing a €300,000 upfront bill for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York and Robyn will be the first Irish person to be admitted on to this trial at the New York hospital if they can get the money raised in time.

An emotional Bernadette said: “I really don’t know what else to do. I’m so so afraid I’m going to lose her. We have done so much different types of fundraising over the years which has been amazing.

“We have gotten so far but I have hit a brick wall with funding and it’s really tearing me apart every which way.

“I’m really struggling. I’m ashamed to say it but I don’t know what else to do. Our life has been nothing else but hospital trips, medical treatment, flying to the US. I honestly can’t remember what normal life is like anymore.''

“Our everyday family life has been wiped out. Robyn’s younger sister Millie who is six-years-old doesn’t know what life is like without illness in our family.

“This (illness) is all she knows. She knows her sister is very sick. She knows that Robyn must go to America to get better. Millie wants to help, she wants Robyn to get better so one day we won't have to keep leaving for the hospital every few weeks."

Millie Smyth.

Bernadette she does not understand why it is taking so long for Robyn to “be normal and would do anything to help make her better.”

“If Robyn relapses now there is nothing I can do. The problem we have is keeping her scans clear for long enough to be accepted on to a new medical trial in New York which is hugely expensive.

“If we don’t get the money together soon then Robyn will lose her place on the trial. It’s as simple as that. All the efforts from the medics in Michigan to keep her alive and to get her to the stage of getting her onto the New York trial will be in vain.

“The longer it takes to get the money for this trial then the more likely it is that Robyn won’t be well enough. It’s just never-ending. It’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go for all of us. I’m trying to do my best to keep myself together for us all but it’s proving very tough.''

Bernadette added: “We are at breaking point both emotionally, physically and monetarily. We have been so lucky that Erin McGregor, sister of world famous UFC fighter Conor, has visited with Robyn and invited her to Dancing with the Stars this year to raise our daughter’s profile, but nothing seems to be working.”


Between all her medical treatment, Robyn has managed to finish her first year in Secondary School in Whitehall, Dublin.

In between her visits to the US, of which she has been on more than 70 flights since 2015, Robyn continues to take chemotherapy tablets and has blood tests and other related treatment at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

“I’m so afraid that neuroblastoma won't stop until it takes her from me and I feel like I’m loosing. I really, really need help.

“If anyone can help please please get in touch robynslife@live.com or www.idonate.ie/robynslife."


Related Articles

Staff at Rotunda neonatal unit ‘would feel safe as a patient there’

Master of the Rotunda wants €40m extension built to counter outbreaks of infection

Readers' Blog: High time to hold our politicians accountable

‘Procedures with longest waiting lists most cost-effective’

More in this Section

Scientists in Galway have found a way of reducing relapses in one of the most aggressive cancers

Gardaí make 'significant arrest' after seizing €252k of drugs, cash and tobacco

Violent criminal suspected of Deirdre Jacob murder

'Serious concerns' for missing Dublin man


Today's Stories

Paralysedman was attacked as he slept in camper

Lifestyle

New father’s life ‘changed forever’ after he was run over by surgeon

More From The Irish Examiner