THROUGH the glass window at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, the man stood looking down at the child he had operated on only hours earlier.
The 14-year-old was still weak, lying there in her gown staring up at this stranger who just might have the God-given skill to save her life.
And as they talked, magic happened. She smiled.
No, she beamed from ear to ear as he told her how the nearly seven hours he had spent expertly removing the cancerous tumour from her young body had been a success.
This assessment was qualified by the need for scans and perhaps some tidying up work, but the monster within was gone.
It would be unfair to describe whether or not there were tears.
But there was a bond, a collective moment of happiness and overwhelming joy that the most emotional rollercoaster month to date for Craiglockhart’s Kira Noble could make it third time lucky.
Less than 24 hours after her fourth major abdominal surgery, Kira was out of bed, sitting in a chair. Her smile was still intact.
“I cannot describe my feelings as being relieved,” her mum Aud said, “It’s more the case of I believed this all along.
“I believed in the skills of this surgeon and felt confident in his unsurpassable skills in resecting challenging tumours.”
Kira’s journey to this point has been a long one.
It has been woven with setbacks and disappointments, pain and undoubtable puddles of tears, but in the face of such a terrible disease, Kira has never failed to smile.
The sweetest smile was managed just moments after tumbling over another gargantuan hurdle – more than seven hours of intense surgery. Aud put out heartfelt thanks to St George’s Society of New York, who have supported them since their arrival in the Big Apple and to charity Solving Kid’s Cancer for their relentless support.
Charity chief executive Steve Richards said: “We are incredibly pleased to hear that Kira’s operation has been a success. It’s fantastic news for everyone – Kira, her family and friends, and everyone that’s been behind her making this milestone possible.
“We continue to hold Kira and her family in our thoughts and wish Kira a speedy recovery. Thank you again to Kira’s amazing supporters for showing the family such compassion and generosity.”
Kira was initially diagnosed at age 11 and underwent 15 months of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy before going into remission in October 2015. But only a few months later, in early 2016, Kira and her family were dealt the shock news the cancer had returned.
Thankfully, by the end of the year she was in remission once again.
However, last year the family were told what was left of Kira’s tumour was growing again.
The brave teen had another round of chemo, but after five months of treatment, tests showed the cancer was still progressing.
Kira’s parents, Aud and Ronnie, refused to give up and, along with her oncologist, found a world-renowned specialist surgeon whose expertise in removing the most tricky of tumours has given courageous Kira The Machine another chance.
TIMELINE OF HOPE – HOW YOU HELPED fund trip to New York
Kira Noble was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a rare cancer that attacks the nerve cells – at the age of 11 after complaining of abdominal pain. She has endured years of exhausting treatments in an effort to beat the disease.
The horrific condition returned and after doctors told Kira’s parents further treatment would not be available in this country, they found hope in a pioneering procedure at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.
A campaign was launched to raise the £340,000 needed to get Kira and her family to the US by May 10 – a seemingly impossible task given the short, month-long timeline.
But communities across the city rallied and Edinburgh joined together in a bid to give the brave teen a fighting chance at life.
More than £178,000 was raised by April 28.
Young kids handed over their pocket money donations, individuals gave what they could and community fundraisers, auctions and bucket collections popped up across the city.
By May 6, the magical figure of £340,000 had been reached, which mum Aud Noble said was “thanks to the kindness, generosity and absolute determination of the people of Edinburgh and the Lothians”.
But well-wishers refused to stop fundraising, intent on showing the family their continued support. The total has kept rising since and is now over a staggering £450,000.