Eilish Mulholland was just four years old when she lost her brave 51week battle against an aggressive form of kidney cancer in October 2014. She was diagnosed with Wilms tumour, cancer of the kidney, in October 2013. After surgery and initial treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy it was clear that standard treatments were not working. Oncologists at Addenbrookes hospital worked tirelessly to find alternatives and Eilish was accepted on a clinical trail at The Royal Marsden; a world-leading cancer centre specialising in diagnosis, treatment, care, education and research.
Sadly Eilish’s cancer returned and the Mulholland family began working with EACH's Symptom Management Team. This specialist team deliver care and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week ensuring all eligible life-threatened children, young people and their families have access to support and advice. Together with the community care teams EACH put plans in place to so Eilish could remain cared for and comfortable at home until she sadly passed away on 13th October 2014.
Eilish’s whole family have continued to receive support including her older brother Paul, who is seven, regularly attends sibling activities and receives art therapy at school once a week.
Angela Mulholland, Eilish’s mum, said: “The care and support we have received from EACH has been invaluable to us - to ensure Eilish was as comfortable as possible and after she gained her wings to help us through a very difficult year. We desperately wanted to care for Eilish at home and this would not have been possible without the support of the Symptom Management Team and EACH. Paul has been helped through a difficult time with his support at sibling days and art therapy. These sessions not only allow him to remember Eilish and to talk about her with someone who’s not family, but to help him learn how to carry on his life without his best friend.
The Symptom Management Team was formed in 2010, initially funded as a pilot scheme by the True Colour Trust to develop a 24/7 community based service. EACH decided to continue to fund this service from 2013. The service is seen, both regionally and nationally, as a pioneering service in children’s palliative and end of life care and this model has since been used as a basis for similar services across the country.
Angela added: “Families need this team and staff at EACH to support them, not just with their child’s medical needs, but to help with the psychosocial impact an illness has on other family members."