Twenty four year old Katie Keyes is mum to April, who was diagnosed with cancer just before her third birthday.
My daughter April has always been the happiest and healthiest child. Three weeks prior to her third birthday last November she was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Since beginning chemo, April has amazed us each and every day. She has come so far, she has had her introduction to chemo, 4 stem cell harvesting sessions, a big operation and all the in between! So far she has ticked every box she needs to, to get to recovery. This is a massive deal as on day one were were not given much hope, 30% to be exact. We began our journey in Temple Street and moved to Crumlin on Friday the 13th of November - the day I knew my baby would get through this. We met two oncologists, Michael and Noellle. They made us feel so welcome and safe - safe was so important as we felt alone and scared. Every single person I have met in Crumlin has been there to guide, help and move us to where we need to be. April has been looked after by the very best in the business. Her oncologist, Dr Cormac Owens, is the top neuroblastoma doctor in the country and we feel so very lucky to have him. April attends St John's ward, the oncology and haematology ward. The staff are outstanding and make our long stays more bearable, as do the other families on the ward. We have met so many wonderful people, friends for life. The children on St John’s ward are amazing. At first we were nervous, we saw so many sick children. To our surprise they seemed as far from sick as you could ever imagine. I want to help these children; I want to put a smile on their faces. The kids spend days, weeks and months in isolation, as my April did and will. Her longest isolation was six weeks. I aim to raise money to help the children get through their long, boring and difficult days. I have never taken part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon, in fact I have never taken part in any marathon. This year I am so proud to say I am doing it and I will be doing it for a brilliant cause, for the children in St John’s, a place so close to my heart. I have chosen to walk it as I have lots of friends joining me and this way we can all start and finish together. For anyone who is thinking of doing the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon but can't think of a reason why - just do it. Look at charities close to your heart or look at Ireland's sick children. Our children deserve a future and without Crumlin I do not know where we would be. Do it for Crumlin, do it for our children. They really are super heroes with special super hero powers. https://cmrf.org