Brave Elsa hoping to get home within weeks

Elsa McBurney enjoying a trip to the shopping mall (left) and showing off her fabulous new hair.
Elsa McBurney enjoying a trip to the shopping mall (left) and showing off her fabulous new hair.

Brave Banbridge girl Elsa McBurney, who has been undergoing specialist cancer treatment in the USA, is hoping to be back home with family and friends by the end of January.

Speaking to the Banbridge Leader, her mum Lesley revealed how Elsa is now more than three quarters of the way through her treatment programme, which the family hopes will be a major step forward in her battle against the disease.

Elsa McBurney having fun on the beach.

Elsa McBurney having fun on the beach.

Elsa, a pupil of Abercorn Primary School, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma - a type of cancer - of the spine in February 2017.

The seven-year-old has undergone bouts of chemotherapy and major surgery, but when tests showed that some of her cancer still remained, her family decided to take her to Jacksonville, Florida in November for specialist proton beam therapy treatment.

“Initially Elsa was scheduled for 28 treatments,” Lesley explained. “Her first 15 were proton beam therapy and her last 13 are done in a machine called Truebeam. It uses imaging during the treatment so they can be more precise with hitting the target area and also avoiding the hardware still in her back after her spinal surgery and reconstruction she had in August.

“She is over three quarters of the way through now with only seven treatments left, but because of the holidays it will take roughly another fortnight to finish up.

“Technically she is due another round of chemotherapy next week, and if that goes ahead then we will be here another three weeks at least before she has recovered enough to fly.

“They may delay that chemo to get us home sooner, but that’s at their discretion. I’m dying to get home, but I don’t want to jeopardise Elsa’s recovery in any way. Either way we should be home before the end of January, fingers crossed.”

In an earlier post on the Team Elsa Facebook page, Lesley revealed how Elsa had “had a lovely Christmas and was well and truly spoilt”.

She detailed how during a trip to a shopping mall, Elsa had come across a wig shop and decided that she wanted a wig.

“She chose everything about it herself - colour, length, style - whatever made her happy. It’s a little darker than her natural colour and she went for curls today but would like it straightened later lol. It’s 100% human hair and it took a while to fit, but in the end she was so pleased with it and couldn’t help checking herself out in every reflective surface. It does itch though, and it will take a bit of getting used to, but at least she has it for those days when she just wants to feel girly. It’s not something I ever expected my little girl to have to ask for.”

Posting a few days before the start of the New Year, Lesley commented: “This year was a bit of a nightmare, but unfortunately none of that goes away for us on Monday so we’re just going to keep the head down and get through this.”

She concluded by thanking everyone who had sent messages of support over recent weeks, including staff and pupils at Abercorn Primary who sent Christmas cards.