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Cancer suffering schoolgirl had to travel to Mexico for treatment

Nine-year-old Lucy Moroney travelled to Monterrey after a £300,000 crowdfunding appeal

Nine-year-old Lucy Moroney from Heswall with her sister Amy(Image: UGC TCH)

A nine-year-old grieving for her dead mum and baby sister is battling terminal cancer in Mexico.

Schoolgirl Lucy Moroney of Heswall has travelled to Monterrey, Nuevo León, to undergo a an intra-arterial chemotherapy trial after a £300,000 crowdfunding appeal.

The non-NHS procedure sees chemotherapy drugs injected via a catheter in the artery while minimising exposure to healthy tissue.

But Lucy, her dad Joe and sister Amy, seven, have already suffered a double tragedy when in 2012 her mum Nicola, 33, died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition while watching TV.

Nicola's third daughter Ruby was born three months early by emergency cesarean but died in distraught Joe's arms 14 hours later.

Now Joe, 39, is determined to give Lucy every chance to survival and on Thursday revealed via social media she has started her gruelling treatment in Mexico, reports our sister paper The Daily Mirror .

Lucy Moroney from Heswall(Image: UGC TCH)

He wrote: "Lucy has had her first intra-arterial procedure today in Mexico and is just recovering.

"She was nervous going in and gave me a few daggers when she woke up, but is slowly coming around and cracking jokes.

"We'll get the results in about 17 days at the next procedure.

"Fingers crossed it starts to work and we see the tumour shrinking. Thanks for the continued support - it is deeply appreciated! X"

Her aunt, Paula Newman, who lives in Tarporley, in Cheshire, urged people to carry on donating to Lucy's JustGiving page.

Her crowdfunding page is called 'Lucy's Pineapple Fund', due to her love for the exotic fruit.

The youngster was given her crushing diagnosis just five years after the death of her mum, Nicola, and baby sister, Ruby.

Nine-year-old Lucy Moroney from Heswall with her late mum Nicola in September 2011(Image: UGC TCH)

Paula previously said the family's "already broken hearts were shattered into a million pieces" when they heard Lucy had a terminal and inoperable brain tumour on July 17.

Called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), it is a relatively unknown form of cancer that is thought to only affect children.

DIPGs are aggressive tumours that originate in the brainstem and affect a number of critical bodily functions such as breathing, sight, blood pressure and coordination.

As the tumour grows, Lucy will remain totally aware as her body gives up.

Lucy's symptoms are getting worse and she can no longer swallow fluids instead relying on a nasal feeding tube and she cannot walk unaided, sometimes using a wheelchair.

Paula, 37, wrote on Facebook this week: "Lucy had her first intra-arterial chemotherapy treatment. Since then, she's been feeling a bit rotten.

"Sickness and severe headaches, although no fun for Lucy (or Joe) are all to be expected following treatment.

Nine-year-old Lucy Moroney from Heswall with her sister Amy(Image: UGC TCH)

"However we're hoping to see some improvement over the next few days. Lucy FaceTimed me last night and we had a little chat.

"She said she was starting to feel a bit better - of course, she was smiling and giggling as per usual!

"Meanwhile, the fundraising over in the North West has been incredible. What a massive effort from TeamPineapple!

"Thank you all! We do need to keep Lucy on this treatment now she has started it."

In July dad Joe, who owns a media company, told of his shock and finding out that after his double tragedy - he now had a battle to save Lucy too.

And he revealed how seeing reminders of his beautiful wife in his children kept him going.

But to avoid scaring Lucy, he has not told her the prognosis.

He said: "We've been through so much, it would be nice to just have a few years without any trauma."

"Lucy's diagnosis came as a massive shock. I didn't really understand at first when they told me it was inoperable that that meant it was totally untreatable.

Lucy Moroney, nine, from Heswall

"The prognosis is really grim. With radiotherapy to prolong her life, it is nine months and without it, it's less.

"But radiotherapy has such bad side effects that it doesn't prolong any quality of life.

"We're looking into every alternative we can and thinking about treatments abroad but we have got to make a decision quickly because she doesn't have long.

"I am determined to stay positive and so is Lucy.

"She doesn't know how bad the prognosis is but she knows she has a brain tumour and that if it grows it's bad.

"But even the other night we went out for dinner and she said to me after 'I might be unlucky to have a brain tumour but I'm lucky that I get to eat at restaurants'.

"That really sums up how amazing she is.

"I will just accept that it is untreatable. We are fighters and we are going to cling to every bit of hope and explore every other option out there to find a cure.

"I couldn't fight for Nicola so I am going to fight as hard as I can for Lucy."

Joe is also helping Lucy write a book about a spider who is friends with a whale after she caught her mother flushing a spider down the loo when she was little.

His company will publish the book so he can remember them both.

Three years after the trauma of losing Nicola, Joe met his current partner Claire Evans, 29, who gave birth to their son Max just before Lucy's diagnosis.

He said of Nicola's legacy: "They are her legacy and they are such happy, happy kids - and so resilient.

"Lucy especially is so much like her mum, she is always smiling.

"It is the worst type of tumour a child can get. It will affect her sight, her breathing, her movement.

"It will slowly take over her brain and even though she will be completely aware and conscious, her body will be giving up.

"Knowing you could lose a child in that way is the maximum pain you could ever imagine.

"But even now with her symptoms getting worse, she keeps smiling and she is so positive.

"She talks about what she wants for Christmas and all the places she wants to go to when she grows up.

"But I'm not going to grieve for her yet. I am totally focused on finding a cure."

As Lucy's tumour is inoperable, her only option is gruelling radiotherapy that would prolong her life - but is not a cure.

So after researching, Joe and Ms Newman discovered alternative treatments offered privately and in Mexico that could save Lucy's life.

Mother-of-three Ms Newman said: "When we got the diagnosis we all felt so helpless. Our worlds just fell apart all over again.

"But now we've looked into it and found out about alternative treatments we've got some hope and we are clinging onto that.

"I never imagined we would raise as much as we have done so quickly.

"People have been incredible, it is really overwhelming.

"And it's not just the donations, we have been inundated with emails of support and people suggesting other treatments we hadn't heard of.

"We even had an expert from America get in touch. Someone has reached out to us. It's exactly what we need."

To donate to her fund, visit : https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucy-pineapple

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