£50,000 raised for five-year-old Guernsey girl with cancer

Credit: Helen and Tom McGahy

More than £50,000 has been raised for a five-year-old in Guernsey with cancer.

Romy McGahy was rushed to Southampton in November after a scan revealed an 18cm tumour in her stomach.

Since the discovery of her tumour, the La Mare de Carteret reception pupil has endured eight rounds of chemotherapy, scans and blood transfusions.

Further tests have sadly shown that the cancer has spread to other parts of Romy's body.

Her family, including her one-year-old sister Zephyr, have been staying in Southampton with her and she receives treatment, thanks to the support of the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation.

Hundreds of islanders came together to raise more than £50,000 to help support the charity and Romy's treatment.

The family say the support and kindness they have received from the community has given them "so much strength".

Romy's dad Tom says the charity's support has been invaluable as his wife Helen care's for Romy full time.

"My work has been incredibly supportive during our first couple of months but we now have no income and know that we will be here for at least a year.

"The fundraising, which we still can’t believe, means we can continue to pay our mortgage and cover our living expenses. As a one wage family, we had already been living frugally and so our plan is that any money left can be given back to the charities who have supported us."

Helen McGahy recently shaved her head in solidarity with her daughter, whose hair is falling out as a result of the chemotherapy.

"Initial scans in the last couple of weeks suggest that she has not responded as well as was hoped to her initial phase of chemotherapy.

"Further tests will confirm this in the next couple of weeks but she will almost certainly need additional chemotherapy or other treatment before continuing with the original schedule of high dose chemotherapy.

"If the surgeons think they can operate to remove the tumour, without losing one of her kidneys, she will have surgery before the high dose chemotherapy. 

"If they think a kidney will be lost, the surgery will be left until later as she will need to go into the high dose chemotherapy with both her kidneys."

Unlike other children on the ward, Romy was unable to leave hospital for Christmas Day but the family and nurses decorated her room, opened presents and had Christmas lunch.

The family are keeping friends and family up to date on Romy's condition through a blog , which they hope will help support and guide other families going through similar situations.

"There were a number of reasons behind the blog. We want it to be full of memories for Zephyr and Romy to look back on in years to come. It has also been therapeutic for both of us to write a blog and help us through these times, keeping everyone up to date on Romy's progress.

"As a parent thrown into a crazy new world of oncology lingo and hospital protocols, we were so out of our depth at first, but found there was little out there to read on the internet. Hopefully our blog might help other parents going through such a devastating diagnosis in future."

Romy is due to have her stem cells harvested in the next few weeks, which will then be frozen ready to be given back to her after she has finished the high dose chemotherapy.