THE parents of an eight year-old Armagh girl – diagnosed with stage four high-risk neuroblastoma – have said they were overwhelmed by the amount of people who turned out on Sunday to join them for a charity walk on the Mall.
Katie Rose McKeown has been undergoing intensive treatment since her diagnosis last year.
But parents Kevin and Una – with the support of the charity Solving Kids Cancer – want to be in a position to send their little girl to the United States for treatment. This would only be carried out when Katie Rose is in remission and showing no evidence of the disease. This treatment is not available on the NHS.
And Sunday’s Walk for Katie Rose on the Mall was part of that massive fundraising effort.
“We really were overwhelmed by the support of our friends and family and indeed the Armagh community,” said Una.
“We raised £2,086.00 and 35 euros on Sunday which is fantastic and we want to say a massive thanks to everyone who turned out and supported us on the day.
“The people of Armagh are so generous, we even had people not connected with the walk stopping with us to make donations, it was totally overwhelming.”
Sunday’s walk also gave little Katie Rose a rare chance to spend some time with her friends.
“This was the first time in 10 months that Katie Rose was able to spend time with her friends – simply because we were outside and her bloods are okay at the minute. Kevin was able to go and get her bike and she just loved riding it and being with her friends – it brought some normality to her life for that afternoon.
“You could see the delight all over her face when she got to spend time with her friends and equally her friends were delighted to be able to play with Katie Rose.”
Another highlight of the day for Katie Rose was seeing her name and picture on the side of a huge lorry. Derry Refrigeration have used one of their lorries to spread awareness of Katie Rose’s Journey.
“Her eyes really lit up when she saw herself on the side of the lorry,” said Una. “This was a real highlight on the day and we are so thankful to everyone who made it happen.”
Following the walk the lorry was parked up adjacent to the entrance to the Spires Retail Park in Armagh in an effort to raise even more awareness about the battle Katie Rose is having with her condition.
Katie Rose is a fighter and as well as the neuroblastoma the eight year-old girl also copes with being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Last week she commenced a five-week course of radiotherapy which will see Katie Rose undertake 24 sessions in Belfast.
The dedicated campaign – under the umbrella of Katie Rose's Journey – has been involved in various fundraisers and the McKeown family would love to hear from anyone who has fundraising ideas - for both big and small events! They are also keen for businesses to get involved and support their campaign.
Money raised goes into a central fund for Solving Kids' Cancer which can be accessed should it become necessary to send Katie Rose to the USA.
Dad Kevin explained they “can't put a price on” any such treatment at present, but it is believed it could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
You can keep up to date and find out what is happening locally by checking out Katie Rose's Journey on Facebook.
People can also visit https://solvingkidscancer.org.uk/campaigns/katie-rose/ for more information, learn and how to donate or organise their own event to help Katie Rose.