Barretstown offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and their families living with a serious illness – supported behind the scenes by 24 hour on site medical and nursing care.
Barretstown needs to raise €5 million a year to run our programmes, over 96% of which comes from voluntary contributions from generous individuals and companies. We receive a small grant from the HSE which accounts for the remaining 3%.
This year we tell the inspirational story of Amanda Gouvea Horan, who at just two-and-a-half years old was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Her mum Paula remembers that terrible moment. “Our whole world came crashing down. Amanda has Down Syndrome but that’s not a problem, that’s a blessing. Leukaemia, that’s a problem. As soon as I heard I said ‘Let’s get started, let’s fight and kill this Leukaemia, I want my child alive’.”
Paula saw one of the hardest things any parent ever has to see. She saw the bright light that had always shone from her little girl’s eyes growing dim. “It was depressing. Amanda was so unwell. She didn’t care. She was on so many drugs. It was like you were looking at her and she wasn’t there. Her happiness was gone.”
But here at Barretstown we were able to help Amanda find her smile again. Little by little this amazing little girl rediscovered her childhood.
Amanda’s big Barretstown moment came on the last day of camp as everyone sat in the theatre waiting for the show to start. But Amanda had other ideas. She walked right up onto the stage, smiled out at the audience and started waving. And of course everyone started to wave back. Then she started blowing kisses and everyone blew kisses back. It was beautiful. Amanda was letting the world know she was back. No one who was in the room that day will ever forget that moment.