Summer O’ Malley-Kearney is 8 years old. She was born on March 15th, 2013 in Castlebar Hospital, Co Mayo.
For anyone that has ever had the pleasure of meeting Summer they would all say the same thing – she is the most caring, loving, and funny little girl who brightens up every room she walks into. She is the little comedian in her family and is always up for "a bit of craic". Summer has faced more battles in her 8 short years than most others would in their lifetime. Even with everything she goes through and all the obstacles that have come her way, she never complains.
When Summer was just 8 months old, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). At ﬁrst LCH was present only in her skin which caused severe burn like rashes on her body but thereafter spread into her liver, spleen, and bone marrow. With this news started Summers' ﬁrst round of chemotherapy and with that the beginning of Summers' long journey to battle this horrible disease.
During this time Summer spent many lengthy stays on St. John's ward in Crumlin Hospital. She endured numerous visits to the Intensive Care Unit and had to undergo countless procedures, scans, blood and platelets transfusions and many other traumatic experiences that all come with this difﬁcult journey. Over the course of two years many different types of chemo were tried but unfortunately this was not enough to beat the LCH. At Christmas 2015, Summers' family were informed that she would now require a Bone Marrow transplant to save her life.
Thankfully in January 2016 came the hope that her family so desperately needed. Thanks to the fantastic work of her Medical team, Summer would now start on a new trial drug from America. The hope of course was this would work and that she would no longer require a BMT. On Valentine's weekend 2016, Summer was given her ﬁrst dose of the drug. Summer’s mother Lorraine vividly remembers the life coming back in her eyes. Taken daily, this drug was the gamechanger and thankfully Summer began to recover and returned to good health over the next 4 years. Summer started primary school in September 2018. This was a huge day for Summer and her family.
However, in November 2019 Summers' health started to decline. Summer’s mother Lorraine had a gut feeling that something was not right. Very sadly, after months of infections, visits to hospital and worrying blood test results, in March 2020, Summer was diagnosed with a completely new Cancer; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Once again, her family’s world came crashing down. Summer had to face another battle for her life which coincided with the start of a global pandemic.
For a child to be diagnosed with LCH and then Leukemia is extremely rare. Summer is 1 of 10 children on medical records to experience this. Unfortunately, in addition to the LCH and Leukemia, over the past number of months, Summer has also now experienced rare side effects from some of the chemo drugs. This has had a huge impact on her neurological health affecting her speech, balance & behavior. She will now require extensive rehabilitation to support her recovery for many years to come. These include Play Therapy, Physio, Speech and Language, and Occupational Therapy amongst others.
Watching Summer go through chemotherapy all over again is just heart-breaking for everyone that knows her but especially her parents Lorraine & Nicky who could not be prouder of their true-life Superhero. As Summer continues to be strong and ﬁght her brave battle with Leukemia, we cannot help but imagine the emotional and ﬁnancial stress this is causing her family.
Summers treatment for Leukemia is due to ﬁnish in September 2022. So, starting on May 8th, 2021, in support of Summer and her road to recovery, a small group of close friends & family will walk, run, or cycle the remaining distance of Summers’ journeys between Castlebar and Crumlin Hospital to receive treatment. We plan to cover 8,213km in 44 days ending our challenge by walking or running a half marathon on Summers Solstice June 21st.
All details can be found on our Go Fund Me, Instagram and Facebook pages Striving for Summer and updates will be provided on all platforms during our challenge. In addition, we are asking everyone who would like to get involved to join our Strava group#2 by following the instructions posted on our Instagram and Facebook pages. Together we hope to achieve our goal of covering 8,213 km in 44 days in support of our Superhero Summer & whilst doing this we aim to shine a light & raise awareness about Childhood Cancer.
In the ﬁrst instance, all contributions will go directly to Summer's rehabilitation and her road to recovery. Following on from this, Summer’s family would like to support & give back to the amazing charities that have helped them over the last 8 years which include Aoibheann's Pink Tie, Bumbulance and The National Children's Cancer Research Centre Crumlin.
Here is more information about our chosen charities:
Aoibheann's Pink Tie - https://aoibheannspinktie.ie/about-us/
Bumbulance - https://www.bumbleance.com/about-us/
The National Children's Cancer Research Centre Crumlin - https://www.nationalchildrensresearchcentre.ie/who-we-are/
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