Meet Our Charity Partners
Established in 2017, the Vertex Foundation is a nonprofit foundation which seeks to improve the lives of people with serious diseases and contribute to the communities where Vertex is located through education, innovation and health. The Foundation is a long-term source of charitable giving and is part of Vertex Pharmaceutical’s corporate giving commitment.
The Vertex Foundation became a supporter in 2019 with a commitment to sponsor our Siblings Programme and the importance of supporting the siblings of seriously ill children given the very unique challenges they face. One focus of The Foundation is providing support to families with children living with serious diseases and they very quickly realised Barretstown shares this focus.
When COVID-19 hit, Barretstown had to make the difficult decision to cancel our onsite residential programmes. In the face of great uncertainty around our funding, the Vertex Foundation was very quick to confirm their support and worked closely with the team in Barretstown to reallocate the generous grant towards our virtual programmes supporting siblings in the safety of their own homes.
The Foundation also generously supported Barretstown’s ‘Rising to the Challenge’ fundraising campaign, which was put in place during 2020 to ensure that the necessary resources were in place to allow Barretstown to serve families on site again once it was safe to do so.
The Vertex Foundation continued their incredible support of the Siblings Programme into 2021, providing a much-needed confidence boost as Barretstown planned for potentially challenging times in 2021.
Barretstown hosted two in-person sibling camps in August and October of 2021, both made possible through the generosity and partnership of the Vertex Foundation.
As we return to normal programming in 2022, Vertex have indicated their intention to continue the partnership and to support our sibling programme once again when it returns to our summer schedule as a seven day camp with some 100 siblings.
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The Importance of Your Support for Siblings
For siblings of children living with a serious illness, it can be incredibly difficult for them to deal with the challenges that carries, both emotionally and physically. Thanks to the incredible support of the Vertex Foundation, we’ve been able to ensure that we continue to support siblings in need of our programmes.
Read Kathryn’s story below to see just how impactful our Sibling Programmes can be for families that need us, and why this support from our Charity Partners is vital to the work we do at Barretstown.
My brother had a very rare form of childhood leukaemia when I was young. We first came to Barretstown as a family and I later attended a sibling camp by myself. I will never be able to describe how Barretstown changed our lives, but I would really like to let you know our story.
When you have a sibling who is ill, your focus is completely on them, but so is everyone else's. I always have found it difficult to describe sibling camp because I don't want to sound like a selfish person. But when your brother has leukaemia and you have a 3-year-old sister, you end up in the background. It's nobody's fault, the attention goes to those who need it the most at the time. But for me, Barretstown was and still is, everything. Barretstown showed me that I was strong, for accepting that I didn't need as much attention. It showed me that I was kind, I was understanding, I was selfless. As a 13-year-old, you don't realise there's a word for putting up with a lack of attention whilst fearing for your brother’s life. It's called bravery, and if I didn't come to sibling camp, I'd never have realised that.
Barretstown enabled my brother to appreciate life again. It reminded him that although others were less fortunate, he was still important. And for me, it made me realise that I have this incredible ability to change people's lives. I know being a bone marrow donor was a big deal.
I'm now a fully qualified nurse and have been for some years - something I'd never have achieved without Barretstown. I have also spent many years volunteering at Barretstown. I have saved and changed more lives at Barretstown as a volunteer than I will ever change in my nursing career.
I will never be able to describe the magic of Barretstown, but I know first-hand how important this experience is to these kids and their families. My brother was physically lucky to survive due to the rarity of his condition. I was lucky to survive because I had the support of people like you to understand me and show me that I can change the world. I will never be done thanking you.
Your Support Changes Lives
Thanks to the incredible support of the Vertex Foundation, we can continue to be an active presence in the lives of siblings who need us, just as much as those living with an illness. Our mission is to rebuild the lives of those affected by serious illness, brothers, sisters and family members alike.
Being able to rely on the kindness and generosity of our partners provides us with incredible confidence for the future, knowing that we can reach as many families as possible, all across Ireland and Europe. Thank you to each and every one of you involved in this incredible partnership and we look forward to a brighter, more positive future because of it.