Megan Malone from Cill na Martra, near Macroom, has a rare and highly malignant brain tumour, medulloblastoma, which is so rare that only two children in Ireland receive such a diagnosis every year.
The first her parents, John and Sheila, knew of the devastating tumour was last October when, in the same week they welcomed Megan’s new brother, Tristan, into the world, their three-year-old suddenly started vomiting and losing her balance.
After a scan at Cork University Hospital, Megan was rushed to Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.
It was discovered that she has multiple brain tumours up to grade four in severity and the cancer had spread to the spine and the rest of the brain. Chemotherapy courses ensued but the prognosis for her survival in Ireland was less than 20%.
However, the New York Presbyterian Children’s Hospital in New York houses experts who use a new type of aggressive chemotherapy, though the cost of getting to New York and receiving the potentially lifesaving treatment is estimated at least €300,000.
Megan flew to New York with John and Sheila, and siblings Tristan, Chloe and Dylan, last Thursday to begin treatment, which is expected to take up to seven months. She is reported to be responding well.
After her parents initially had to dismiss rumours that a donor had been found, someone did come forward.
While the individual has asked to remain anonymous, a family spokesperson confirmed their act of enormous generosity.
Meanwhile, in a similarly selfless vein, it has emerged another 17 US billionaires, including Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, have pledged to give away at least half their fortunes in a philanthropic campaign led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
That brings to 57 the number of billionaires who have joined The Giving Pledge.
Gates, his wife Melinda, and Buffett have asked US billionaires to give away at least half their wealth during their lifetime or after their death, and to publicly state their intention with a letter explaining their decision.