Birthday girl set for New York for trial to stop cancer returning
13 March 2019
Little Ellen Treanor celebrated her fourth birthday with the news that the huge fundraising drive for potentially life-saving treatment in America has passed £540,000.
Ellen had a party with family and friends in Bessbrook Community Centre on Sunday ahead of her birthday today (Wednesday, March 13).
At the party, it was announced that an astonishing £544,001.47 has been raised since July last year. Parents Paddy and Claire said they have been overwhelmed by the community response.
“It’s such a massive figure. It’s unbelievable, we are lost for words,” said Claire.
Paddy added: “At the very start we had no idea how to raise what we thought we would need, but to raise that amount is phenomenal. It is down to the whole community, from Newry and further afield. Everyone rallied around and we are completely overwhelmed by the support we received.”
Ellen was diagnosed with life-threatening childhood cancer neuroblastoma in January last year. The Bessbrook toddler underwent high-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment and a 13-hour operation to remove part of a tumour from her little tummy. However, the cancer has a particularly high rate of returning with only 40 per cent of children with the disease still alive five years after their first treatment. In July last year, family and friends launched a huge fundraising campaign to raise enough money to fly Ellen to America for a specialist clinic trial aimed at stopping the cancer returning. Ellen recently completed anti-body treatment number four and starts the fifth and final round of treatment on April 1. She will have further scans to ensure the cancer is gone before flying to New York at the start of summer.
There, she will be put on the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, which has shown promise in dramatically reducing the chance of relapse.
“She’ll get scans done and if all is good, we’ll fly to America in June for the start of treatment,” said Claire. “Ellen will be an outpatient and won’t have to stay in hospital each night, which is great. The trial itself has proved largely successful with children who have relapsed.
“The next trial, which Ellen will be on, will include children that have had successful chemo and radiotherapy treatment and haven’t yet relapsed. Fingers crossed it works. But we’ll just take everything one step at a time.”
The huge figure announced by the family this week was reached by an amazing outpour of generosity and fundraising over the last eight months.
Almost £30,000 was raised by local schools that adopted Ellen as their chosen charity for the year.
Hundreds of individuals, businesses and community and sporting organisations also chipped in with varied and unique fundraising events.
A number of large private donations were also given. “It’s stunning,” added Claire. “Thanks to everyone. We couldn’t get her to America without everyone’s support, so it really is amazing and we are thankful to everyone that has supported us. It means so much and we are forever grateful.”To read more subscribe to our online Newspaper