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Spring Appeal

Kitty was not lucky to be diagnosed with cancer, but we were lucky to have found Barretstown

Kitty's Story : Urgent COVID 19 Appeal

Read on as Kitty shares her Barretstown story with us, detailing first-hand the impact Barretstown has had on her and her family. Kitty and Amelia were really looking forward to coming to our Sibling camp this Spring, but now all Spring camps have been postponed due to COVID 19.

The children who come to Barretstown, just like Kitty, are at an increased risk of COVID 19 as they are immune suppressed. They now find themselves even more isolated and in need of Barretstown’s services.

The COVID 19 crisis has had a huge impact on our fundraising efforts and led to the postponement of all of our Spring camps and programmes. However, during these difficult and worrying times, we’re determined to keep the Barretstown magic alive. That’s why we have been very busy developing and launching our new BARRETSTOWN LIVE PROGRAMME, so we can continue to serve children like Kitty.

Please help us to Press Play and fight the impact of COVID 19 by supporting our appeal today.

The Diagnosis

The Diagnosis

In 2018, I got very sick. I can still remember how awful it was. I didn’t feel like eating. I didn’t have enough energy to play. I was sleeping all the time. I didn’t know what was happening to me but I knew something was very wrong. My mum and dad took me to see about four different doctors until we got the answer. It wasn’t an answer any of us wanted to hear. I was told I had something called a Wilms Tumour. That’s a tumour on the kidney. It’s another way of saying I had cancer – and it had spread to my lungs and liver too.

It was really hard on my family. My mum and dad were really worried about me. They didn’t say so but I could just tell. My big sister, Amelia, was worried and sad too. She’s my best friend and we share a room at home. But for a whole year I was in and out of hospital, it felt like I was there all the time, and I know she really missed me.

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``The first thing when you get a diagnosis is that your life collapses. You don’t expect it.” – Kitty’s Mum, Lucy

Barretstown

Barretstown

We first visited Barretstown for their Big Picnic open day in the summer. The whole family went. When we drove through the gates my mum and dad both started to cry. They could already tell it was a special place.

The next November, we all went to a family camp and had an amazing time! We laughed a lot. That weekend gave us a real break from hospital visits and chemotherapy. Barretstown brings kids and families back together again. I know it made a huge difference to all of us. Me and Amelia left that camp desperate to go back again. Last spring, we went to a siblings camp without mum and dad and then, in the summer, I came to camp on my own.

“Kitty had been surrounded by adults for six months – her parents, the medical team, the nurses, doctors, care team. We needed to allow her to be in the company of children again.” – Lucy

I loved doing activities like horse riding and arts and crafts. After being stuck in a hospital room for so long, it was magic to be able to do things again. You get to meet and talk to other kids who have been through the same things as you and who understand what it’s like to be so sick for so long.

It was a real break for my mum and dad too. They could relax while I was at Barretstown because they knew that its amazing Med Shed would make sure I got whatever care I needed, and just as good as I was getting in hospital.

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The Burke Family

The Burke Family

“I’ve finished my treatment now and I’m happy to say the cancer is gone but I still have to live with the effects of all the chemo and operations. I know there are a lot more kids just like me who are still going through their treatment, still fighting, kids who really need to come to Barretstown.” – Kitty.
“Kitty has had the opportunity to be enriched again with people of her own age. To really benefit from not taking life too seriously, having some good old-fashioned fun and silliness. Things were very serious in her life during the time of her treatment, and Barretstown was there to help enrich her and give Kitty her childhood back.” – Kitty’s mum, Lucy.

Barretstown Live

Barretstown Live

Both Kitty and Amelia were really looking forward to coming to our Sibling Camp this Spring, but as a result of the impact of COVID-19, these camps were postponed. The children that come to Barretstown find themselves even more isolated as they are at an increased risk of COVID-19. They need our services now more than ever.
To help keep the magic of Barretstown alive, we recently launched our BARRETSTOWN LIVE PROGRAMME, a new online interactive platform to Livestream Barretstown’s programmes to homes nationwide. These programmes are being delivered every Saturday to families who were due to come to camp in Barretstown and will continue to run for the foreseeable future. Families like Kitty's, are all sent a ‘Barretstown Live’ kit prior to taking part which contains everything they need to participate.

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'The incredible team at Barretstown made magic happen in our home! Barretstown Live captured the spirit and energy you'd see at a Barretstown camp for a day of non-stop smiles and laughter. Kitty and Amelia were so disappointed camp would not be taking place this Easter because of COVID 19, but with Barretstown Live, the team recreated the warmth and fun for a day of brilliant activities.

Children with a serious illness know what it is to be isolated. At this difficult time, they are perhaps more equipped than most...but they shouldn't be and Barretstown knows this. Barretstown works so hard to bring fun and healing programs to these children, even during this time of lockdown, they are delivering magic into the homes with Barretstown Live. A day-long programme for families. We baked, got crafty, and played many silly games. Smiles all around for days to come. Thank you Barretstown for continuing to think of families like mine' - Lucy.

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Please Press Play for children like Kitty, who are living with a serious illness, by supporting us today

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