Just five days after a three-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, the little girl died in her mum’s arms.
For weeks, doctors told the parents of Aoife Flanagan-Gibbs their daughter was constipated.
Eventually at the beginning of July, Aoife was diagnosed with germ cell cancer.
Aoife’s mother Eilish Flanagan told Essex Live she took her daughter to the doctors 11 times in three weeks, saying she “knew” there was something else wrong with her daughter.
Aoife started experiencing pain in her stomach area in early July. Aoife’s family had just moved into a new home in Essex, England.
“She'd been in and out of hospital with different infections and problems but they kept telling us she had common child constipation,” she said.
“I raised my concerns and she had pains in other areas of her body but the doctors never examined her. She had a tumour on her bottom but they failed to investigate it.”
Eilish said her daughter had a huge tumour which blocked Aoife’s bowel.
When Aoife was finally diagnosed with the cancer, the doctors said that type of cancer is reactive to chemotherapy.
Eilish told Essex Live her daughter was a “wild child”, who loved her Shetland pony called Bubbles.
However, on July 7, Aoife died in hospital, in Eilish’s arms.
"It was completely unexpected, she had a huge cardiac arrest," Eilish said. "I held her because I knew something was wrong with her. She died in my arms.”
Eilish said it wasn’t about blame or anger, but rather about accountability.
Aoife’s Bubbles raising awareness of germ cell cancer
According to Eilish, she was told she wasn’t feeding Aoife properly and she needed more exercise.
Since her daughter’s death, Eilish has started a charity, in a bid to raise awareness about germ cell cancer.
According to the Go Fund Me page for the Aoife’s Bubbles, the charity is in the process of getting registered.
“Aoife's Mum has decided to set up this charity to raise awareness and educate health care professionals on Germ Cell Cancer, a rare cancer but a very real one,” the Go Fund Me says.
The charity will also provide respite for children with cancer and help provide for their families.
“This is for you; I will turn this anger into positive force for change to make sure your legacy as a superhero lives on,” Eilish wrote of the Aoife’s Bubbles Facebook page.
“I love you indescribable amounts, what I would do for you knows no ends. You are my driving force, you are incredible and you are the kindest person I have ever known.”
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