Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Family ‘bursting with happiness’ as Ellen begins nursery school

Last week marked another major milestone for little Ellen Trainor from Bessbrook as she commenced nursery school.

Taking it all in her stride, Ellen joined her new classmates at St. Peter’s Primary School, Cloughreagh, but it was a day her parents Claire and Paddy never dared hope for, as in January last year little Ellen was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma.

For more than 15 months, the toddler has battled through grueling treatment that has included chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

The toddler’s progress has been documented through ‘Ellen’s Journey’ Facebook page, a fundraising charity set up to enable her to access specialist treatment in America.  Dozens of events held throughout the past year have boosted the charity’s coffers and it is anticipated that when Ellen is well enough, she will travel to America where she will undergo clinical trials for revolutionary treatment that will offer her the best chance of survival.

Posting on the charity’s Facebook page on Friday, Ellen’s proud parents Claire and Paddy announced they are “bursting with happiness” that their daughter “is finally getting the chance to be a normal child”.

Declaring that Ellen “had a brilliant time” during her first days at school, they added: “We feel so lucky that she is well enough at the minute to do so. Over the next few weeks she will be having her end of treatment scans, we hope and pray that they will be clear and then we will get a date for heading to America for her clinical trial.”

Less than three weeks ago Ellen completed the frontline treatment available to her on the NHS and the family anxiously awaits the results of subsequent scans which will determine her suitability for the clinical trial process of treatment in New York.

Announcing the news and thanking everyone for their continued support for Ellen’s Journey, her family said: ““We couldn’t be more proud of Ellen, she has went through more in the last 16 months than any child ever should, and she does it all with a smile on her face.  She has been our strength, and our shining light, in these darkest of times.

We would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers for Ellen, it really has meant so much to us to know that so many people keep her in their prayers, please keep it up.”

For the immediate future, at least, Ellen will get to experience normal life for little girls as she enjoys her first days of school.