Megan walks by herself for first time in months after treatment

LITTLE Cork girl Megan Malone who is undergoing lifesaving treatment for a rare brain tumour in New York has taken her steps on a long road to recovery by walking by herself for the first time in months.

The three-and-a-half year-old girl from Cill na Martra near Macroom is continuing to receive treatment at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital. The specialist treatment, unavailable here in Ireland, has been tough on the toddler, but her family has expressed delight at the news that Megan is now able to walk again by herself.

Megan was diagnosed with the rare cancerous brain tumour called sPNET medullablastoma on October 15, 2010, just days after her brother Tristan was born. Between the time of Tristan’s arrival and Megan’s diagnosis being confirmed, the toddler had already begun to lose her balance and eventually lost her walk completely.

On Monday, in a surprising turn of events, Megan walked by herself for the first time in over two months. After spending a rare few days with her family at their temporary home in the New York suburb of Yonkers, Megan’s dad John had taken her to the hospital on Monday for her regular check-up. While in the examination room, Megan unexpectedly walked across the room.

Megan’s mother Sheila said yesterday: “It was the most amazing day, a day I thought would never happen. John took her to the hospital for her check-up and while they were there she walked across the room. I couldn’t believe it when John told me.”

During her check-up, it was also discovered her immunity had dropped to ‘0’ and so the toddler was forced to undergo a blood transfusion. However, she was back ‘home’ in Yonkers again on Monday night.

“They were home at 6.30pm but when she got in we didn’t ask her to walk as we didn’t want to be exhausting her but she said ‘look at me, I can walk,’ and she walked off across the sitting room. I couldn’t believe it, it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” Sheila said. “She is so delighted with herself, the world is now at a different level to what it was. Megan walked around to each of the bedrooms opening wardrobes, saying ‘what’s that’ about everything. She will be going back into the hospital on Thursday for more chemo but she will be back out again for Christmas.”

Medics in Ireland had given Megan a less than 20% chance of survival, but American doctors said with their treatment programme they could offer her a 50/50 chance. The Malones were told they should bring Megan to New York as soon as possible as the toddler would live no more than three to four weeks without the specialist treatment. The family, including Megan’s siblings Chloe, Dylan and two-month-old Tristan, left Ireland for New York on December 2.

While the Megan Malone Trust has already received more than €150,000 in donations to help cover the costs of the family’s US trip, it was confirmed earlier this month an anonymous “third party donor” has offered to cover the cost of Megan’s medical treatment. Those costs could be as much as €300,000, while the monies already donated to the trust will be used to cover the other costs incurred by the Malones while in New York.

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