When Sarah was a year old she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, an aggressive type of leukaemia that children with Down Syndrome like Sarah are significantly more like to develop. Susan, Sarah's mum remembers that day only too well 'the day we received that devastating diagnosis was the day our lives began to fall apart'. Normal family life ground to a halt. Nothing mattered as much as saving Sarah’s life. But the only way to fight an aggressive cancer is with aggressive treatments. Treatments so severe that they have been known to kill a child before the disease can.
Every ounce of Sarah’s strength was being used to withstand her treatment and battle this horrible disease. Her weight plummeted. She lost all of her hair. A cold turned into pneumonia. And she developed septicaemia. She was really struggling.
As a mum nothing could have prepared Susan for how sick her baby girl was about to become. Every ounce of Sarah’s strength was being used to withstand her treatment and battle this horrible disease. Her weight plummeted. She lost all of her hair. A cold turned into pneumonia. And she developed septicemia. She was really struggling. Sarah stopped doing all the things a happy child does. She stopped smiling, laughing, playing and even her favourite things; singing and dancing. Cancer had stolen her joy and her music. She began to disappear inside herself and her family weren't sure they would ever get her back.
I want to give:
A Lasting Impact
In Sarah's mums own words... '' My little girl’s childhood had been put on pause but Barretstown was there to hit the play button. Bit by bit we saw the old Sarah emerging from her shell. She began to laugh and play. She revelled in all the attention she received from the Caras and the other campers.
Through our laughter and spending time together as a family, we began to put our pieces back together and remember our life before cancer. And it was during our time in Barretstown I realised that all of that would be possible. That we could be the family we had been before cancer. In fact, we could be even better. During our time in Barretstown Sarah began to take back what cancer had taken away. And our family began to heal.''
The truth is Barretstown didn’t just help Sarah, it helped our entire family. We were all exhausted, physically and emotionally. Each of us needed space and time to recover, to rebuild our confidence and begin to look forward to a happy future together. Through our laughter and spending time together as a family, we began to put our pieces back together and remember our life before cancer. And it was during our time in Barretstown I realised that all of that would be possible. That we could be the family we had been before cancer.Donate
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.