The father of brave cancer sufferer Merryn Lacy (aged four) - who this week has been undergoing further chemotherapy to eradicate traces of Neuroblastoma from her bone marrow - says he’s been overwhelmed by the support his family’s received over what’s been a harrowing nine months.
Michael Lacy was speaking after dozens of Merryn’s friends, families and supporters cycled from Londonderry to Dunfanaghy to raise money for a contingency fighting fund to help pay for Merryn’s future treatment in the United States in the event of a relapse.
Mum Jenny (née Robinson) - originally from Kilfennan - returned home for the event (see picture), which was organised by Jenny’s aunt and uncle Natalie and Graham Cummings.
“People have been so kind and brilliant,” Michael told the Sentinel. “All over. In Derry and down here and all over Ireland and in the UK. It’s been a great help.”
Natalie said: “The cycle was unbelievable, the way 96 people got on board and cycled the fifty miles, and the money we’ve been able to raise.
“Whilst at the beginning we thought we’ll never get to two thousand euros, it’s definitely marching in the right direction.”
Michael said the current chemotherapy is aimed at getting rid of residual traces of disease following surgery to remove the cancer and Merryn’s kidney on March 28.
But in spite of such gruelling trials for a little girl, her mum and dad still can’t keep up with her.
“All kids are different. But it’s strange with Merryn because she has so much energy. She’s the one that drags as all out of bed. We were told after her treatment that she really shouldn’t be as well as she is,” said Michael.
Merryn’s mum and dad have described their daughter’s brilliant spirit on the dedicated site.
In their own words: ”Merryn is like most other four-year-old girls. She plays with her dolls, likes dressing up as a princess, dancing to music and will most likely be wearing something pink and she always seems to be creating - painting, colouring, drawing or making stuff.
“She gets excited about school and learning. She just adore life. And has the most infectious giggle. But unlike most four-year-olds, Merryn has one almighty battle to face.
“At the start of August last year she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma - an aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system. This disease can be beaten, but due to its high rate of relapse (seventy per cent), it will forever haunt her and her family. Merryn’s family will be seeking treatment beyond the course she is on, to prevent it coming back.”
Her friends and family from Londonderry, Dublin and Wicklow have several fundraising events planned over the coming months.
Almost 300 women have volunteered to donate their proceeds from the 10K women’s mini-marathon in Dublin on June 2 to the Merryn Fund.
Then on June 14 and 15, volunteers will be taking part in the Hell and Back endurance event in Bray, for Merryn.
The organisers of the Dunfanaghy cycle want to thank the sponsors of the event, The Taxi Company, Centra, Trench Road, Centra, Strand Road, The Sandwich Company and Dawson Hinds Office Furniture.