James' mum Debbie shares their story...
``My youngest son Oscar was just two weeks old when we got the horrific news last year that our James had leukaemia. He was just 12 years old, and his other brothers were 10 and 8. It was completely devastating.
I still remember the day James was diagnosed so vividly. He had had a small fall, but ended up with a huge bruise that didn’t go away and then developed a rash. I decided to take him to the GP who suggested we go to the hospital for some blood tests. There within hours, they told me he had leukaemia and they were transferring him to Crumlin. I was so shocked, I just muttered about getting the car, even though they were already hooking him up to IV’s and drips, and they had to tell me we would be going by ambulance.``Donate
In fact, we couldn’t go anywhere. Normal family life ended as soon as we got his diagnosis.
From April to June last year, we watched our son disappear, it felt like cancer had beaten him. James was then offered a place at Barretstown camp, I was nervous. What if he got a temperature? How would he get his bloods done? What about his chemo? How would he get around in a wheelchair?
But then I spoke to Eimear at the Med Shed, she explained that all of those issues would be managed by her team of volunteer doctors and nurses, while he was at camp. She reassured me that James would be medically cared for, while having the best time of his life. He needed it so badly.
The Med Shed what's it all about?
The Med Shed is run under the direction of Dr Jane Pears, Barretstown Medical Director, by Nursing Director Eimear Kinsella and Senior Nurse, Helen O’Connor. The Med Shed provides on-site treatment of campers’ acute and chronic illnesses, including administration of oral chemotherapy, haemophilia factor, inhalation therapy and oral medications. The amazing Med Shed doctors and nurses are available on-site 24/7 to provide any necessary treatment.Donate
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James treatment started in April 2017 and it won't be finished until August 2020, that's almost another two years.
Please donate today to keep the Med Shed doors open
The Byrne's at camp
Allowing James to go to Barretstown - with the peace of mind that the Med Shed would keep him safe - was a turning point in the traumatic journey we had begun with his diagnosis. Without the Med Shed, there is no way James could have gone. And if James hadn’t gone to Barretstown, we would never have learned how to live with his cancer.
At Barretstown, a child can remember what it is to be a child again and to laugh and have fun. They go home with renewed self-confidence.We have seen it first-hand.
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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.