Three-year-old Megan Malone from Kilnamartyra near Macroom, is continuing to receive specialist treatment at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.
The treatment, unavailable in Ireland, has been tough on the toddler who received a setback during Christmas when it was discovered she had developed a bacterial blood infection. As a result, Megan’s time with her family at their temporary home in the New York suburb of Yonkers was short-lived.
Megan had returned home to spend Christmas with her family and was not due back in hospital until next Friday for her second course of chemotherapy.
However, Megan has been forced to return to hospital early and is now undergoing a 14-day course of high-dose antibiotics.
Megan’s dad, John Malone, said: “Sheila and I are taking turns looking after Megan, while she is in the hospital, every two to three days. It looks like Megan may remain in hospital until the middle of January now.
“She has four more days of antibiotics and she then is scheduled to start the next cycle of Head Start chemotherapy on January 7. It is likely that both will now overlap.”
John added: “According to our neuro-oncologist Dr Garvan, Megan is responding very well to treatment. He has told me the fact Megan started walking last week for the first time, indicates the cancer has receded even more since the last MRI.”
Since arriving in New York, Megan’s largest tumour has reduced in size by over 75% while a week before Christmas the toddler walked for the first time since she was diagnosed in October.
Meanwhile, Megan’s sister Chloe, 7, and brother Dylan, 5, started school yesterday a month after the Malone family first arrived in New York. “The school is only about 100 yards from our front door which is very handy for us,” John said.
John Malone said: “Our wish for 2011 is that Megan will be able to start playschool in Kilnamartyra in September — free from disease.”
Megan was diagnosed with the rare cancerous brain tumour called sPNET medullablastoma in October last 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 the ability to walk completely. Medics in Ireland had given Megan a less than 20% chance of survival. However, in the US, doctors said with their treatment programme they could offer her a 50/50 chance.