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experimental therapy Theo (3) forced to wait six months for decision on US cancer trial

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The family of a Limerick boy who raised more than €400,000 so he could take part in a US drug trial have been told he will have to wait another six months before he could be considered for the experimental therapy.

Theo Murnane (3), from Murroe, has been in cancer treatment for most of his young life after a tumour in his abdomen spread to his bones and scalp.

After undergoing numerous rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, two stem cell transplants, six rounds of immunotherapy as well as 14 rounds of radiotherapy, Theo was given the all clear just before Christmas.

An online fundraiser has so far raised over €416,000 to send Theo and his mother Eleanor Murnane to New York where he would receive an enhanced round of immunotherapy, which it is hoped will considerably lower the chances of Theo’s cancer returning.

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

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She said she had hoped Theo would have been accepted onto the trial around now, but that this was no longer possible after they were informed that “Theo currently does not hit the criteria to get on the trial in New York”.

“We have been told we have to wait until Theo is six months cancer free which will bring us to June 2021,” Ms Murnane said.

“In the interim, the doctors in New York have recommended (Theo) go to Barcelona for further treatment. This is yet another big decision to make and we will have to weigh up all options and decide in the next week or so,” she added.

A scan of Theo’s body, taken just before Christmas, showed his cancer was gone.

“Theo will have another big scan in May and hopefully will still be clear so we can get on that much anticipated, long road to New York.

"As several people have said to me, maybe this is a blessing in disguise with everything going on in the world at the moment. Who knows?,” Ms Murnane explained.

She thanked everyone who had donated to the Team Up for Theo online fundraiser, adding “the funds are in place for us to go, as soon as we get the go ahead”.

Having battled the disease for over two years, which left him twice fighting for his life in intensive care in hospital, little Theo is presently “doing great” after enjoying Christmas at home with his mother in Co Limerick.

Past Christmases were spent “keeping watch over him in ICU”, and sleeping in a hospital chair listening “to the beeping of machines“, Ms Murnane said.

Theo has come “scarily close” to dying, but has “battled through” it all, she offered.

“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 Team Up For Theo online fundraiser at https://www.gofundme.com/f/2700p3zjuo has exceeded its €375,000 raising over €416,000.

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