Cyclists saddle up to fund Zoe’s life-saving cancer treatment

DOZENS of cyclists will saddle up this weekend to help fund life-saving cancer treatment in the US for a Cork toddler.

Members of Youghal Cycling Club in East Cork will embark on the 165km ride on Saturday for 18-month-old Zoe Lehane Lavarde, who is undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive form of cancer at the world-renowned Burzynski Centre in Houston, Texas.

The clinic provides advanced alternative treatments for cancer.

The little girl from Mallow in north Cork, who has a twin brother, Leo, was diagnosed with Atypicalteratoid/Rhabdoid Tumour (AT/RT), an aggressive form of the disease, earlier this year after her parents, Alex and Orlaith, noticed that she was quieter than normal and losing her balance.

Doctors at Cork University Hospital removed a tumour from her brain but the cancer remained.

They told her parents that Zoe would have a 10%-30% chance of survival if she underwent aggressive chemotherapy here.

Her parents discovered the pioneering Burzynski Centre in Texas and travelled there last year, where Zoe was assessed and deemed suitable for the specialist treatment, which could take up to 18-months.

They hope that, if her condition improves, they may be able to relocate to Holland to continue treatment.

But they are facing medical bills and expenses of up to €700,000.

Orlaith’s first cousin, Tony Walsh, who is one of the organisers of Saturday’s cycle, said: “The doctors are pleased with the progress so far, but there is still a long and uncertain road ahead. The people of Mallow and indeed many other places have been extremely generous and supportive.”

The cyclists will leave Market Square in Youghal at 9am on Saturday, passing through Tallow, Fermoy, Mallow, Blarney, Ballincollig, Bishopstown, Cork city and Midleton before returning to Youghal.

nDonations and progress updates on Zoe’s condition can be made at www.mysisterzoe.com.

Donations can also be made at Ulster Bank A/C: 10880255; sort code: 986070.

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