Donal Parsons is a seven year old boy who lives in Strandhill, County Sligo, Ireland with his big brother James, his mum Jane, his dad Andy and Nelly the Springer Spaniel. Donal likes playing, dancing, talking, cooking and making things. Most of all he loves building Lego and he loves his dog.
In October 2013 Donal was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a very rare Children's cancer. Donal is currently receiving 18 months of intensive treatment at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin.
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer which affects an average of 10 children a year in Ireland. It often occurs in young children under the age of 5. It is a cancer of specialised nerve cells called neural crest cells. These cells are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues.
Neuroblastoma often begins in the abdomen. The two main areas it can affect are the adrenal glands and the nerve tissue at the back of the abdomen. It can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bone marrow, bones, liver and skin, through the blood and lymph nodes.
Donal was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma with MYCN amplification, a more aggressive type of the disease. The cancer had spread from his main tumour in his abdomen to his lungs, lymph nodes, bones and eyes. Within the first week of treatment, Donal lost the sight in his right eye. As with most cancers, the cause of Neuroblastoma is not known.
One of the features of Neuroblastoma is the very high rate of relapse. In the event of a relapse Donal's options for treatments that can cure the disease may be limited to clinical trials and new treatments that are only available outside Ireland.
Why we are fundraising
The Donal Parsons Trust has been set up to raise money to access any viable treatments to prevent relapse and to pay for treatments if Donal does relapse. The Trust may also assist Donal and his family during his treatment.
If Donal doesn't need further treatment all proceeds will go towards fighting Neuroblastoma and to other families facing this terrible situation.