| 8.6°C Dublin

Grateful Mum thanks 'goodness' of public after funds rasied for son's US cancer drug trial


An online fund set up three weeks ago, to help a boy from County Limerick access a US cancer drug trial, has exceeded its target of €375,000, with his mother thanking “the goodness of people”.

Theo Murnane, (3), from Murroe, has been in cancer treatment for the past two and a half years after a tumour in his abdomen, spread to his bones and scalp.

The brave child has already undergone a mammoth treatment plan, including numerous rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, two stem cell transplants, six rounds of immunotherapy.

He has also battled two life-threatening infections which left him in intensive care, as well as 14 rounds of radiotherapy.

Theo, and his mother Eleanor, are now making plans to travel to New York to access a potentially life-saving drug trial, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital Cancer Centre where doctors hope to blast any remaining cancer from Theo’s body via a series of non-invasive injections.

Thanking everyone who supported the “Team Up For Theo” fundraiser via GoFundme.com, Ms Murnane, said: “One of the hardest decisions I has to make over the last few months was to ask for help, but oh my God, you have all made it such an amazing, heart warming, joyful experience.”

“The goodness of people with their positive thoughts, kind messages and amazing donations, makes us humbled, and we are fully blown away by your generosity. From the bottom of our hearts, a massive thank you,” she added.

The funds raised will go towards travel, accommodation, and costs of the cancer trial, which is scheduled to begin in January.

In May 2018, Theo was diagnosed with Stage Four cancer and he has been in and out of hospital for almost all of his life.

Ms Murnane said the New York trial involves “an enhanced round of immunotherapy” which is hoped will considerably lower the chances of cancer returning to Theo’s body.

The drug trial is initially scheduled for one year.

Speaking earlier, Ms Murnane explained that she and her son hoped to go to New York in January “for a month initially and then travel back and forth over the year”.

“It will hopefully massively improve his chances. I don't want to regret not doing this and for it to be too late, so I have no choice but to try,” she said.

“It takes a community to raise a child and my community have been incredible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your donations, prayers, and messages,” she added.

Their journey to recovery has been far from plain sailing.

“Theo has had his tumour removed and gone through numerous rounds of chemotherapy, a double stem cell transplant, fourteen rounds of radiotherapy and six rounds of immunotherapy, but there have been setbacks along the way, including two very serious infections which had him admitted to Intensive Care,” Ms Murnane said.

Theo came “scarily close” to dying, she offered, but has rallied against the odds to “battle through” it all.

“Unfortunately, with the type of cancer that Theo has, the chance of re-occurrence is extremely high,” she explained.

She hopes the US clinical trial “will help prevent the cancer re-occurring and greatly improve Theo’s chances of survival”.

“Theo deserves a long, healthy life free from pain and fear. I have to do everything in my power to make sure he gets this, the last two and a half years have been incredibly tough, and I have learned firsthand how precious life really is and how quickly it can all be taken away.”

“I think the hardest part of cancer treatment is at the end, when everyone assumes you’re cured and you no longer need their help - This isn’t true, believe me, this is when you’re at your absolute weakest,” she added.

“I have laid my child in a surgeon’s arms and spent Christmas keeping watch over him in ICU, and I have slept upright in a hospital chair and listened to the beeping of machines, and I have smiled through the tears and found strength when there wasn’t any left,” Ms Murnane said.

“I have done it all for Theo, who is at the end of the day just a very normal, very precious boy, full of mischief, quick to smile.”

Donations can still be made via https://www.gofundme.com/f/2700p3zjuo

Online Editors