A massive fundraising drive has swung into action to send a brave six year-old Robertstown girl, who is battling a rare form of brain cancer, to Boston for lifesaving treatment.
Leah Taaffe was a healthy, happy little girl until she suddenly became ill last November, when she was diagnosed with Supertentorial Pnet. Last Saturday February 2, Leah’s mum Sabrina and dad Johnny, got the news no parent ever wants to hear as doctors informed them that Leah has only weeks to months to live.
“Needless to say, we as a family are heartbroken. We have heard of a hospital in Boston that has had a very high success rate in curing this cancer and we need help in getting her there,” her aunt Kym Kelly told the Leader.
Reeling from the shock, family, friends and the wider Robertstown community are rallying behind the Taaffes and are urging the people of Kildare and those from further afield to support the campaign.
Kym told of how Leah had been a little tired in school and had a couple of falls but nothing out of the ordinary for a six year old.
“On the morning of the sixth of November she woke up with a headache. Sabrina asked her where the pain was in her head and she said it felt like her head was falling off. She got sick this green kind of mucus stuff. They brought her to the doctors in Clane and they referred her straight to Tallaght. “At first they thought it might be meningitis, and then they thought it might not be anything serious, but she got a seizure at around 4.30pm/5pm and they did a CAT scan. They found a bleed on the brain and rushed her to surgery,” said Kym.
Shortly afterwards Leah was transferred to Temple Street hospital and had an operation to remove the tumour. This was unsuccessful as only a very small amount of it was accessible.
Chemotherapy started shortly afterwards and the recent MRI showed no change in her condition. Little Leah is currently in an isolation ward in Crumlin hospital. The next MRI scan is in March so the family have just four weeks to raise the funds.
Leah has her good days and bad days but nothing cheers her up more than seeing her brother Jordan (10) or her cousin Quinn, who is just four months older than her.
Kym, who is a well known country singer, is planning a fundraising gig, while other members of the Robertstown community are also planning events such as a skydive.
Friends of the family, Sheila McTeague and Gloria Reidy organised a recent headshave which raised E9,500 and were extremly grateful for the support. Although they are devastated by the latest diagnosis, they are rolling up their sleeves and planning more events.
“We know we have already been out asking people for money but this is far more serous now. We really need people’s support,” stressed Sheila.
The bank account was being set up yesterday Monday February 4 and was not available at the time of going to print. However, anyone who wants any information can contact Kym on firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto the facebook page ‘Princess Leah Fund’. Kym also stressed that if America is not an option for Leah, all monies raised will be given to the Crumlin cancer unit in Leah’s name.
- Niamh O’Donoghue