We are heartbroken to have to write this update. Fiadh’s cancer has returned. It is our worst nightmare. At only 4 years of age, Fiadh is fighting for her life for a second time.
We need your help to get Fiadh to New York for life-saving surgery to remove an 8cm tumour attached to the major blood vessels in her tummy and give her intra-operative radiation therapy to try to get rid of this cancer for good.
Any help you can give us would be much appreciated. All shares, donations and support would be very gratefully received.
Fiadh’s story so far
Our daughter Fiadh O’Connor is a bright, playful two year old girl from Wexford who has been fighting one of the most aggressive forms of children’s cancer since Christmas 2019.
In the space of one week, Fiadh went from being a healthy 20 month old with a swollen tummy, to being diagnosed with a 14cm cancerous tumour, neuroblastoma, that had already spread to her bones and lungs.
Fiadh has had the best medical care and intensive treatment available in Ireland and she has bravely fought through many sick and worrying weeks of chemotherapy, surgeries, stem cell transplants and long hospital stays. Additionally with thanks to funds already raised, she travelled to New York a number of times to receive a pioneering cancer vaccine.
On the week before Christmas 2019, at one and a half years old, we noticed that Fiadh's tummy looked a little swollen and she seemed a little out of sorts.
Fiadh seemed otherwise well, so Laura booked an appointment with our GP for a check-up. Even in the waiting room, Fiadh looked like the happiest and healthiest child there, climbing on the chairs and saying hi to everyone. Little did we know how much our world was about to change.
Little Fiadh was referred to Wexford General Hospital for scans, where they found a large mass in her abdomen. She was transferred by ambulance to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin where she was diagnosed with a Stage 4 neuroblastoma tumour; a rare and aggressive childhood cancer. This tumour was the size of a melon at 14cm long and had already spread to her bones, bone marrow, lungs and was pressing on her liver and bowel.
Immediately, just 4 days before Christmas, little Fiadh started aggressive chemotherapy.
Santa delivered a little play kitchen to St. John’s oncology ward in Crumlin on Christmas Eve, which she loved but was just too sick to play with initially.
Neuroblastoma cancer is so rare; only 6 children in Ireland are diagnosed each year. From the beginning, we were told that her chances of survival were only 50:50 due to the aggressive nature of her cancer. Fiadh’s oncology doctors mapped out an aggressive treatment plan for Fiadh over an 18 month period. Despite this extensive treatment, relapse rates for this particular form of cancer are very high. The first treatment stage was to try to shrink the tumour through chemotherapy, so that it could be removed surgically.
For us as Fiadh’s parents, our world has completely stopped. Our amazing little Fiadh went from being a healthy one and a half year old child with a sudden swelling in her tummy, to a child with one of the rarest and most aggressive childhood cancers. We immediately moved to Crumlin to be with Fiadh for the initial stages of treatment, leaving behind her 12 week old brother Páidí with his Nanas, Grandads and Aunties.
For many weeks, Fiadh stayed in hospital getting the most intensive treatment that her tiny body could handle. She was in immeasurable pain; she stopped moving, eating and talking for periods of time and was on daily medication.
Fiadh is a tough cookie and has fought through every difficult stage so far. She has made it through 50 days of chemotherapy, 3 different surgeries, two stem cell transplants, more than 30 blood and platelet transfusions, over 12 weeks of total isolation in Crumlin hospital, with only one adult allowed to be with her at a time. Fiadh has spent over 150 days in hospital since January and she missed her baby brother Páidí each time she was away.
Fiadh’s grandad Jim was receiving palliative chemotherapy at the same time as Fiadh and they often spent days recuperating together. We are all so proud of Fiadh. She has taught us huge strength and courage through this heart-breaking time.
Fiadh has received excellent care from all the staff in Crumlin Hospital and St. Gabriel’s ward in Wexford. We will forever be grateful for the help, support and care they have shown to Fiadh and our family. Fiadh often amazed the nurses and doctors with her ability to climb and her mischievous and kind nature keeps us all smiling.
Our girl Fiadh loves dancing in the kitchen to Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl, eating her favourite ice cream, climbing anything she can and playing with her baby brother Páidí. She has already been through so much in her short life and we are all so proud of her - please join Future For Fiadh and help her kick cancer’s ass for good.