Robyn Smyth is a 14-year-old girl from Ireland who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was three. Since then she’s undergone countless rounds of chemotherapy, investigational treatments, a treasured period of remission, and sadly, a relapse. Since 2015, she has made almost 90 trips to the United States for treatment and she’s on her way here again.
The Treatment Journey
What sparked Robyn’s first commute to the US in 2015 was news from Irish doctors that her chance of survival was 5%. They told her family it was best to stop treatment, go home, and wait for death. Robyn and her parents wouldn’t accept that ending to their story.
It was time to fight even harder.
Robyn started treatment in Michigan at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Last year she underwent treatment in New York at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre. Now, she’s headed back to Helen DeVos where they plan to try another therapy.
In between trips to the US, Robyn still undergoes chemotherapy treatment at Our Lady’s Hospital in Ireland.
Following the treatment in Michigan, Robyn’s family hopes she will be able to start a novel treatment in Germany that utilizes the parent’s immune system. But before she initiates this treatment, doctors say she must undergo another round of chemotherapy.
This recent trip to the US was sparked by a relapse of the neuroblastoma to her brain, bone marrow, pelvis, back, and jaw. The news of this relapse was devastating. But currently, Robyn’s on a treatment that’s been tolerable, so they’re hoping it actually works.
“Of course we are very upset over this latest set-back but our resolve is great and we will get her through this again.”
The pattern of travel, treatment, and chemo has become normal for this family. But it’s certainly not an easy normal. It’s not a cheap one either.
The family explains how quickly the costs add up. The cost of travel, treatment, and everything in between has been overwhelming. But they’re also overwhelmed by the generous support they’ve received. Through a website, GoFundMe, event fundraisers, a floss dance challenge, raffles, and everything in between, they’ve been able to give Robyn every chance possible at life.
You can read more about Robyn’s journey here.