A brave Donegal teenager is preparing for a bone marrow operation which she hopes will end a six and a half year battle with a rare form of cancer.
Sixteen-year-old Niamh McNulty from Convoy will have the transplant in Dublin next week. Since she was ten she has been battling a rare form of leukaemia which affects only four people in Ireland.
Now her wait for bone marrow transplant has come to an end after a suitable donor was found in Germany. Niamh was diagnosed with the illness in March 2005 and has battled through pain, weekly trips to hospital in Letterkenny and Dublin and chemotherapy. In January this year Niamh became seriously ill and her family were called to Dublin fearing the worst but the brave teenager rallied and is now set for her transplant operation.
Niamh has lost her hair four times due to chemotherapy but her wit and spirt makes light of what would be traumatic for others. “God only made a few perfect heads but the rest he covered with hair,” she said.
Niamh’s mother Bernie praised her daughter for the courage and spirit with which she has faced such adversity. “Through her battle for life she has smiled and joked and loved live,” she said. “She’s a fighter, a survivor and a pleasure to have in our lives. I love her to bits and we hope this transplant works and then maybe we can have some kind of normal life.”
Last weekend Niamh celebrated with family, friends and well-wishers ahead of the operation. Over 200 turned up at the Orchard Inn in Letterkenny where entertainment was provided by Mickey Joe Harte, Eoghan Quigg and dance troop Dynamic Waves.
Niamh’s aunt Marcella McNamee, who organised the party, said Niamh was absolutely gob smacked by the night. “She is just a gem. She has been through so much but she just keeps smiling,” she said.
See our Gabrielle’s Diary Special on a very, very special party for Niamh on page 20.