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Will you help a child like Niall this Christmas?

Niall’s Story

Niall’s mum, Elle shares his story.

My son Niall, who recently turned seven, was diagnosed with Leukaemia in March 2022 after complaining of a sore leg for several months.

Niall was always a bright, fun-loving little boy but in that moment, everything changed for us as a family and suddenly we were faced with a scary new reality and a very uncertain future.

Within a few hours of receiving his diagnosis, Niall was admitted to the Children’s Cancer Unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and the medical team began preparing him to start treatment.

Over the next few days Niall began an intensive course of cancer treatment which will last three and a half years in total.

The early weeks of treatment were really tough on Niall and he developed swelling on his liver and a rare brain swelling which resulted in him not being able to see, walk or talk. He spent two weeks in Intensive Care and a further four weeks recovering in the ward, waiting for vision to come back and learning to talk and walk again. Niall also began to develop ongoing seizures as a result of the treatment and after some investigations, we were told that he had developed focal epilepsy, something Niall will now have to live with for the rest of his life.

It was such a worrying time and incredibly hard to see Niall so poorly, but we are just thankful he managed to get through it.

Niall is now in maintenance treatment and that will continue until 2025. He still receives a nightly chemotherapy treatment but it is incredible to see how far he has come- he is able to play without feeling sick and go to school on the days he’s feeling well enough, so we’re absolutely delighted that things have started to settle down a bit for him.

For now, we take each day as it comes and always make sure to celebrate the important milestones, like Niall completing his first school sports day earlier this year and more recently, celebrating his seventh birthday with family and friends.

People should get behind The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity’s Christmas appeal this year as they truly do go the extra mile to support families like ours experiencing a childhood cancer diagnosis. They also ensure that the medical team at the Children’s Cancer Unit are equipped to deliver the highest level of care through funding equipment, staffing, training and development and infrastructure in the Unit.

I am so thankful to all of the doctors and nurses who have supported us since Niall’s diagnosis and I don’t know how we can ever repay them for how they have helped our son.

Elle Donaghy.

Payment can be made by BACS as follows:
Account Name: Childrens Cancer Unit Charity
Sort Code: 98-00-60
Account No: 5713 9008
IBAN: GB81ULSB98006057139008

Alternatively, cheques can be made payable to
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity
and sent to:
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity
141 – 143 Falls Road
BT12 6AF

Please use CCUC Christmas appeal as reference for all donations.