It took just seven words to devastate our lives. "Mum and Dad your daughter has leukaemia"
It should have been a really special Christmas because all three of our children were ﬁnally old enough to really appreciate Santa. Katie-Mai had been pale and tired so we brought her to our GP. It is impossible to explain how quickly life can change. Within hours we were told that our beautiful little girl had a life-threatening illness and the following morning we were taken by ambulance to Crumlin Hospital.
That Christmas was the worst time of our lives. Katie-Mai was so ill, we didn’t know what to expect, and the fear of losing our little girl was overwhelming. Our normal family life was destroyed. We needed something to look forward to
Will You Be A Secret Santa?
Unknown to us, the teacher at Katie-Mai’s crèche wrote to parents telling them what was happening, and presents came ﬂooding in for all three children so that the magic of Christmas still happened amid the horror of her diagnosis.
Secret Santa's from around our community made sure Christmas morning was the best it could be, despite the devastation our family was going through.
We will never forget their kindness. This year, that Secret Santa could be you.
I want to give:
A Little Bit Of Magic
We ﬁrst experienced the magic of Barretstown through their amazing Outreach team in Crumlin Hospital. They brought some much needed joy and laughter to long hard days ﬁlled with chemo treatment and appointments. To see Katie-Mai smile with the Barretstown team while going through so much meant the world to us, and to her. We were then oﬀ ered a chance to go to Barretstown and I knew my family needed it, so we jumped at the chance
Our family had been blown apart by cancer. Barretstown reminded us how to be together again.
The minute we drove through those gates, it was like we could feel the sense of adventure beginning. Although Katie-Mai was extremely ill, it was still the best thing that had happened to us. That time in Barretstown made us remember the magic of our own family again - how to laugh and have fun, when all we had gotten to know was fear and separation. The kids were having so much fun they didn’t even realise that they were actually going through a specialised therapeutic recreation programme developed by Barretstown that has been proven to help with recovery for the whole family.
The Impact of Your Donation
Joy & Magic
Our arts and crafts team are always on hand with paint, facepaint, crayons, craft paper, bracelet beads, feathers and everything you can imagine, to bring out the creative side in each child!
All of our camps and programmes are designed to respond directly to the needs of a child living with a serious illness – both clinical and psychological. Our unique model of challenge, discovery, reflection and success is recognised by paediatricians and psychologists all over the world as an important and necessary component of a child’s treatment.
The loss of control that many children and their families experience as a result of a serious illness can gradually erode confidence, diminish self-esteem, body image and coping skills. We aim to give this back by empowering and encouraging each individual to step out of their comfort zone and begin to re-build their confidence, trust and self-esteem and discover something new about themselves and their ability.
We believe that fun should be an integral part of what we do. Fun and laughter are key ingredients in improving the lives of those affected by serious illness.
Our outreach programme brings the playful spirit of Barretstown beyond the gates of our beautiful castle into hospitals and communities all over the country.