Wendy is one of our camper mums who has experienced the effect of Barretstown on her whole family especially her daughter Niamh who was diagnosed at 3 with juvenile arthritis. The below is a short account of her story:
Barretstown when first mentioned to my daughter roughly 5 yrs ago was something she was not interested in, mum it’s full of sick people, it wouldn’t be my thing! No problem I said. Niamh was referred there by her rheumatology team in OLCHC as she suffers from juvenile arthritis. I rang Barretstown to say she was not interested; I spoke to the lovely Lara Keogh who explained we could try a Family camp first so Niamh could experience the magic of Barretstown with our support. So we arrived on a Friday afternoon with a nervous husband as well as two anxious children. We left on the Sunday afternoon with huge smiles on all our faces and a special place in our heart for Barretstown and its wonderful staff.
Barretstown is a FUN camp for serious illnesses. We spent our time doing things we never get time to do as a family as life gets in the way. We played board games, went fishing, horse-riding and reconnected as a family. We met wonderful people from all parts of the country all dealing with different disease’s but getting on with things as best they could. The staff in Barretstown are amazing, they get totally immersed in the weekend and it makes us feel as a family very special and we all need to feel special no matter what age we are.
We went back to Barretstown 3 times to the Family Camp and each time it got better and better. Niamh has been to teen camps and sibling camps with her sister also.
Niamh is now 18 so our time at Barretstown has come to an end but the memories will last a lifetime.