Emma Naughton is this weekend celebrating her 21st birthday, and she sure does deserve a party, as for the last four years she has battled a rare cancer.
At sixteen years of age Emma, from Oranmore in Co. Galway, was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the liver known as Fibrolamellar. After extensive surgery in St Vincent’s Hospital she got the all clear; however Fibrolamellar cancer has a 90% recurrence rate, and since February 2013 the cancer has returned five times, ,most recently in March of this year. Emma currently has a tumour in her stomach.
For the last four years Emma and her parents Pauline Naughton and Thomas Heavey (Managing Editor of Irish Vintage Scene Magazine) have made seventeen trips to the USA to meet with a doctor who specialises in this rare cancer. Of the 200-or-so patients who are diagnosed with Fibrolamellar cancer each year, the majority attend Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York to seek the advice of Dr Abou Alfa, who is heading up major research into this cancer.
Currently Emma is in good health despite having a tumour, and will return to New York later in July to assess how best to treat this current recurrence. To date, surgery has been most successful for Emma. All of her surgeries have taken place in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
To keep up to date with Emma’s progress, please follow her ‘Help Emma Beat It’ website or Facebook page.