On 31st May Corlaith our cute, bubbly little 4 year old was feeling nauseous in creche. She vomited and then was perfectly fine until 30 hours later when it happened again. This continued on and off for 7 days; vomiting and complaining of headaches one day, running and jumping around the next. After a week we brought her to urgent care in Connelly. With low blood sugar levels she was placed on an IV and transferred to Tallaght (no other hospital with a bed). After 3 days of treating her stomach problems and with Corlaith jumping around showing no signs especially neurologically of anything being wrong, a CT was planned as she was still having slight headaches. On Friday 11th June – expecting Corlaith home that day telling creche she was fine and she was having one last check to give her the all clear, a lesion showed up on the CT. She was transferred to Temple Street the next day and there we met the amazing neurosurgical team lead by Mr John Caird and saw the CT scan for ourselves – you didn’t need to be a radiographer to decipher the scan. A tumour one fifth of her brain was visible and they were operating Tuesday to take the whole thing out.
The blow was physical and left us breathless. The following week the blows continue; its malignant she has a cancerous tumour called Ependymoma. They need to operate again to remove the smallest bit left and after that her best chance is proton radiotherapy in Essen, Germany. While all this is going on we’re expecting our 3rd child in 4 weeks time and how can we possibly organise and pay for a 2 month trip to Germany during all of this! This is where the most extraordinary charity exists not just from an economical viewpoint but emotional one as well. John took care of it all; flights, transfers, car rentals, covid updates, accommodation and all catering to each family’s individual needs. As we would have all 5 of us out there 4 year old Corlaith, 2 year old Saorla and our newborn we needed additional family support so John booked flights for our mums to help as well as accommodation to cater for that support. Our third, Caoimhe was born on Friday 23rd July, 6 weeks to the day after Corlaith’s tumour diagnosis. Two days later my husband flew out to Essen with his mum and the two girls. Once I secured Caoimhe’s passport I flew out with my mum to join them 2 weeks later.
Without the Gavin Glynn foundation we would’ve been trying to organise this trip ourselves while trying to process what was happening to our amazing little girl, as well as welcoming a new baby into our family. We are now all over here in the middle of radiotherapy treatment due to return to Ireland at the end of September. We are trying to make the most of it for Corlaith and her sisters out here – visiting parks and castles and other attractions so that they will remember those memories and the treatment for Corlaith will not hold centre stage. John Glynn was able to help us do that with his incredible charity, organising all the logistics so that we can focus on the girls. During the early days of Corlaith being sick a quote in a book I was reading has stayed with me and sums up the support and hope that the Gavin Glynn Foundation has given to us:
‘The sky grows dark the black over blue yet the stars still dare to shine for you’ Matt Haig