The story of a little St Andrews girl - diagnosed with a very rare cancer just weeks after her third birthday - has resulted in a surge of support from the town.
The latest event to help Madison Martin was a family day at the Cosmos Centre last weekend, organised by friend Kevin Richardson and which raised more than £1000, while STAART (the St Andrews Adventure Runnning Team) recently donated £1100, the proceeds of its awards night, to a fund newly set up in honour of the youngster.
“It’s been quite overwhelming,” said mum Samantha Kirk. “We were taken aback at first because we are just a normal quiet family so to realise so many people knew about Madison and wanted to help took a bit of getting used to.”
It was mid-June, after around six weeks of Samantha taking Madison to her doctor and hospital with various symptoms such as a sore back, a limp, tiredness and extreme pain, that Madison was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
It is a rare form of cancer that mostly affects young children - around 100 children in the UK each year. It develops from nerve cells called neuroblasts and can spread to other areas such as the bones, liver and skin.
Madison, who celebrated her third birthday in April, was diagnosed as stage four, which means the cancer has spread from a tumour above her kidney to her bone marrow and to several places around her bones.
We take each day as it comes. If Madison has a good day, then it’s a good day for us all.Mum Samantha Kirk
She has been accepted into a clinical trial with a 40-50 per cent chance of a cure.
Ahead of her is a gruelling regime of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell therapy.
For mum Samantha and dad Shaun Martin it has been heartbreaking to see their lively little girl suffering from the disease and the side-effects of the treatment.
“She is such an outdoor wee girl and loves nothing better than going for walks with her dad and her dog,” said Samantha on Wednesday.
“It is hard to see her like this because of how bubbly she normally is and always running about.
“We’re now just taking every day as it comes. If Madison has a good day, then it’s a good day for us all.
“She has had blisters in her mouth as one of the side-effects so hasn’t been talking but then last night she was feeling better and was back to being a little chatterbox.
“She’s amazing in how she’s been with all the stuff that she is going through.”
It was two friends of Samantha from her work at St Andrews Healthcare that set up the Madison Martin Fundraiser page on Facebook which gives regular updates on her progress.
“We’re going to use some of the money to create an art room for when Madison gets home because she won’t be able to go out much or start nursery,” Samantha said.
“However, we also want to raise awareness about neuroblastoma and campaign for more funding for research into it.”