Aoife and her dad Mark

Aoife McQuillan

Our beautiful little girl Aoife was born in 2017 at 27 weeks weighing less than 1kg. We spent the first ten weeks of Aoife’s life in the Coombe Hospital NICU watching our little girl grow and overcome many battles before she was big and strong enough to come home. From that day Aoife was a healthy, happy little girl, and we even welcomed her little sister Orlagh in 2019.  

 

A few days after Aoife’s 4th birthday she woke with a pain in her belly. As the day went on, her appearance became paler. She became sleepier and began vomiting. We brought her to the out-of-hours doctor, who sent us to Crumlin Hospital. Like most parents who attend A&E, we presumed Aoife would be home and back to herself in a few days.  

 

A&E saw to Aoife immediately. Their concern was kidney stones, but nothing was seen in the initial scans, so Aoife was admitted. The following day was spent in isolation waiting for covid results. After another scan the next day, the consultant visited and apologised as she told us Aoife was being moved into the care of the oncology team as a tumour had been found in her kidney.  

 

Our world shattered. We were heartbroken. We found ourselves in the unknown, waiting to meet the oncology team. The following day Aoife had more tests completed before meeting the oncology team late in the day. It appeared we got a warning sign, and the cancer was found early. We had numerous meetings with the oncology team to put a plan in place for our little girl. Everything moved so fast. It started with a biopsy to confirm the exact type of tumour, followed by a meeting with the surgeon to discuss the best option. Aoife had six months of chemotherapy after surgery. 

 

Chemotherapy really took its toll on our little girl, but throughout, she maintained her beautiful smile and infectious personality. We tried to continue our everyday life for both of our little girls and went on staycations, enjoyed days out at the beach, and Aoife even started Junior Infants. Aoife’s friends were incredible. No matter how her appearance changed and energy levels dropped, they loved their friend Aoife no matter what.  

 

At the end of Childhood Cancer Awareness month 2021, it was Aoife’s turn to ring the end-of-treatment bell. We passed that bell so many times and heard many courageous children ring it loud as they all reached their own milestones. 

 

Aoife started Senior Infants this year. She loves school and is finally back to herself, full of energy, full of mischief and full of love for everyone in her life.  

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