Anonymous donations worth €31k make Christmas wishes come true for cancer-hit families in Meath

Carol Haslam from Ratoath and Slav Vavro from Laytown were both overwhelmed by the combined donations of €31,000 in the last few days from two different benefactors.

Anonymous donations worth €31k make Christmas wishes come true for cancer-hit families in Meath

Generous anonymous donors have made the Christmas wishes of two Meath families hit by rare forms of cancer come true.

Carol Haslam from Ratoath and Slav Vavro from Laytown were both overwhelmed by the combined donations of €31,000 in the last few days from two different benefactors.

A huge thank you has been extended by the emotional mum of the 14-year old teenager Slav after a generous donation of €25,000 ensured that the family can now get an oxygen chamber in their home for their son who is battling stage four of the rare and aggressive Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.

Determined Nadia spoke openly recently about her heartbreaking battle to fundraise for the hyperbaric chamber which she believes will help her son defy odds of 5% to survive the rare cancer.

The determined mum of three who thinks it will be one of the first privately-owned hard-shell chambers in the country has devoted the last 15 months to researching additional treatments to help her son, who was diagnosed in January 2018 with the rare type of stage four cancer.

Slav underwent 27 weeks of harsh chemotherapy in Crumlin Children's Hospital, after which the family were told any further treatment would be palliative and not curative.

Currently Slav and Nadia travel a 150km round trip, up to five times a week for the therapy in Northern Ireland and the long periods in the car add pressure to his back, causing him immense pain.

"A lot of other children who initially had a better prognosis are sadly not here anymore so Slav's fight is a small miracle but far from over," she said

"Oxygen therapy dramatically increases survival rate for cancer patients iwth metastasis and can make a difference between life and death.

Slav Vavro
Slav Vavro

"For the last 15 months, we have been commuting at least 450kms each week to the chamber on top of all other travel to medical treatments and tests and the commute is having a negative impact on Slav's health.

"He has compression fractures of six vertebrae and the long journeys are very painful and extremely damaging to his spine."

Nadia has openly talked about the financial difficulties her family have endured with the cost of cancer as she had to give up her job as a social worker.

However, she is elated today after receiving the €25,000 balance she needed for the €70,000 hyperbaric chamber.

Thanks to the very kind couple who wish to remain anonymous and who kindly donated the substantial sum today of €25,000 and thanks to everyone who donated to our cause. We raised the amount needed to pay remaining balance for equipment and work necessary to get the oxygen chamber.

"I immediately rang the manufacturer with the good news and they promised to deliver the chamber as soon as possible, although they have to put it together and get i tested and certified. We cannot wait to have the chamber at home.

"We met the couple today and of course, there were emotional tears and such a relief and pressure from our shoulders and our family.

"Nothing of this could be achieved without our amazing supporters and all the persons who kindly supported us along the way."

Carol Haslam
Carol Haslam

Meanwhile Carol (39) had been fundraising for €15,000 to match HSE funding for a bionic arm after she chose to get her arm amputated to kill synovial sarcoma - a rare and aggressive form of cancer in her hand, so she could watch her two children grow up.

She had to give up her 11-year old florist business and struggled to do everyday things with her existing prosthetic arm, with the added daily challenges of rearing two children with autism

The bionic limb will not give her back feeling or reflex actions but it will give her back 85% of her mobility.

"It has a pincer grip so I will be able to put the key in the door, pick up coins or put my daughter's hair in a pony-tail like a normal mam

"I've held various fundraisers over the last few months and people have been absolutely fantastic. I had raised €9,000 and then out of the blue, this person gave me the remaining €6,000 I needed on the condition that they stay anonymous.

I just can't thank them enough as well as everyone else. It has been the best Christmas present. I turn 40 in January so with my new arm, life will really begin again.

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