On the week in October that marked Tristan Malone’s arrival into this world, his little sibling, Megan, took ill and a brain scan revealed a tumour.
“She had been vomiting and losing her balance and her speech was not 100%, so her GP referred her to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for a scan that showed a tumour. She was transferred to Temple St where doctors put in a shunt to drain the tumour and relieve some of the pressure on her brain, but a biopsy revealed she has a very aggressive form of cancer,” said Megan’s distraught aunt, Bríd Malone.
Megan is now in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin where she is undergoing chemotherapy and has spent the past 10 days in isolation.
Since the diagnosis, Megan’s dad, John, has decamped to Dublin to be with his daughter and has only seen his new son for one weekend when his entire family travelled from their home in Ballyvourney, Co Cork, to be with their little sister who has grade four cancer. Sheila was also in Dublin for a time but returned home to look after Chloe, 7, Dylan, 5, and baby Tristan.
“It’s very, very tough on them, it’s a very difficult time for Sheila having to cope with this, in addition to having a new baby, but both Sheila and John are determined to do what is best for Megan,” said Bríd.
The best chance on offer, they reckon, is in New York and the family has launched a fundraising drive to raise the €300,000 necessary for the operation at New York Presbyterian Hospital. It could save the life of a little girl her aunt describes as “bubbly, loving and placid”.
The hospital has previously successfully treated others like Megan. Doctors in New York have agreed to accept Megan for treatment and are on standby pending her ability to travel.
Bríd said the entire family is hoping to travel to be at her bedside.
“It’s heartbreaking, devastating, but people have been very kind, especially neighbours in Ballyvourney, and very supportive. We are spreading our fundraising drive over Cork, Limerick and Clare (the Malone family hails from Ennis and Bríd works in Dell in Limerick and so far businesses and individuals have been amazing.”
An account has been opened in Ulster Bank for those who wish to donate, sort code: 985482, a/n:10117900.
l Details of fundraising events: www.meganmalonetrust.org or the Megan Malone Trust on Facebook.