The small girl driving change: how Aoife’s legacy may help other children

In June 2019, Eilish Flanagan took her daughter, Aoife, to a doctor after the three-year-old began to experience pain in her stomach. She was told the pain was brought on by common constipation plus it should go away by itself.

Over another three weeks, Aoife visited the doctor another 11 times. She was eventually known Great Ormond Street Hospital and was identified as having germ cell cancer – a rare childhood tumour that always develops in the ovaries or testes. Five days later just, Aoife away passed.

There was no question for Eilish that she wished to use what happened to Aoife as an optimistic driving force for change, therefore she put up Aoife’s Bubbles – named after Aoife’s beloved Shetland pony, Bubbles – that will be the UK’s only registered childhood germ cell cancer charity.

well as raising understanding of germ cell cancer

As, the charity desires to improve the outlook for every single child with cancer also.

‘I won’t let her light fade’

Aoife’s Bubbles has partnered with us to aid the vital work Professor Louis Chesler and his team are performing on the ITCC-eSMART trial.

The trial, that is led in britain by Dr Lynley Marshall at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, was created to deliver the perfect treatment pathways for children with aggressive solid tumour types, including germ cell tumours.

Eilish said: “Aoife was the kindest little person you might ever need to meet, and she had such determination and strength that I’m sure her mission was to simply help others.

“I setup Aoife’s Bubbles as I’m determined that through this utter heartache, something positive can come. Aoife’s presence in this full life is certainly one of hope, and I simply won’t let her light fade.”

Giving families the opportunity to make memories

The trial shall build on the incredible insight gained from genomic testing, which identifies which cancer-causing mutations and genes exist in a tumour, so that you can assess the way the personalised treatments selected for every single child will work effectively. The utilization of detailed testing and targeted treatment plans will make certain that children enrolled may respond positively, along with sparing them from any unnecessary negative effects.


Image: Aoife playing outside. Credit: Eilish Flanagan

Professor Chesler is leader of our Paediatric Solid Tumour Therapeutics and Biology team. Together, in Sutton, with the Centre for Molecular Pathology at The Royal Marsden, the team allow us real-time tests for detecting genomic changes and assessing treatment response from patient blood samples.

The money raised by Aoife’s Bubbles will soon be contributing towards the laboratory equipment and substances had a need to execute these vital tests. Their generous support enables the team to be flexible inside their approach and certainly will enable them to react quickly to any developments in treatment response.

Eilish said: “I’d always desired to fund research. I recently thought time goes past and children continue to be getting sick – it’s time for you to do something. You will have more children that want help, and you want to manage to give families the opportunity to make as numerous memories as you can.”

Professor Chesler said: “You want to improve the outlook for each and every child clinically determined to have cancer. This trial shall help us match children with the newest targeted drugs, and bring genomic testing into clinical practice for children. We’re delighted that Aoife’s Bubbles have chosen to guide this life-changing work potentially. Together, we could help children with cancer have the best possible treatments, as as possible swiftly.”

We are an internationally leading research centre in the research of childhood cancers and cancers in children, teenagers and teenagers.

Since creating Aoife’s Bubbles first, Eilish has devoted herself to the ongoing work of the charity and organised numerous fundraising events, including a 17-hour golf marathon and a wing walk, month that is due to occur during Childhood Cancer Awareness.

Aoife’s Bubbles has pledged £15, annually towards our research 000, and aims to boost this support over time since the charity goes from strength to strength.

“Having Aoife’s Bubbles has really helped me,” said Eilish. “Aoife was my only child, and so i went from full-time mummy suddenly, doing everything for her, to returning home from the ‘quick day at the doctor’ without any Aoife. I channel all my grief into Aoife’s Bubbles, and I take comfort knowing the global world won’t forget Aoife.

“After Aoife away passed, I spent a whole large amount of time with her while we were awaiting her celebration of life, and I made her a promise that I wouldn’t stop until she was saving lives. Any youngster facing cancer deserves an opportunity in life – they deserve the quickest diagnosis, the most effective treatment options and perfect outcome.

“Very few people can say they’ve made an enormous impact and saved lives, but Aoife can be known for doing exactly that – and I take complete pride in the fact here is the legacy Aoife has left and is really still creating.”

How it is possible to support our research

Find out more about Aoife’s Bubbles.