Summer Appeal : The O’ Toole Family

How do you tell your six-year-old child they have cancer?

Can you Donate today and help more children like Róisín experience the magic of Barretstown?

I would like you all to meet the Jacqui whose beautiful daughter Róisín has gone through a journey of heartache and pain. Here is Jacqui’s story….

“How do you tell your six-year-old they have cancer? How do you prepare them for the fight that’s ahead and the difficult days that are coming? There is no right answer. But when my daughter Róisín was diagnosed with cancer the answer for us was Barretstown.

You see, my husband Rob and I told Róisín about all the medicines she would have to take. And all the tough treatments she would have to brave. But we also told her about Barretstown. And that made an incredible difference. Knowing there was a magical castle especially for children like her, where she could scale walls and visit secret gardens, gave my little girl something to dream of. A milestone to work toward.

Every child needs things to look forward to. Every child needs something to wish for. But when your child becomes so sick they can’t walk. When their beautiful long brown hair falls out in clumps as you brush it. When you see your child using every bit of energy they have just to survive. Then those wishes, those dreams, become more important than ever.

Driving in the gates to Barretstown we had no idea what to expect. I’ll admit I was nervous. Nervous that it would all be too much for Róisín. That she wouldn’t be able to keep up. And I could tell Róisín was nervous too. She insisted on wearing a baseball cap to hide the short patches of her hair that had begun to grow back.

But we shouldn’t have worried. Within minutes Róisín spotted another little girl whose hair was at the same stage of regrowth as her own. Seeing Róisín having the confidence to whip her cap off her head and say “look we have the same hair” was a wonderful moment.

You see, cancer doesn’t just attack your child’s body. It also attacks their confidence and their self-esteem. They feel different from their friends. Cancer begins to become part of their identity.

It’s hard to explain how much that meant to me. I remember being in the Secret Garden and feeling really choked up. It was like the magnitude of what we had been through hit me. I remember thinking we are here, we made it. My child is alive. And the most difficult part of this is behind us”.

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Barretstown Summer Appeal 2017
Róisín and her brother Liam at Barretstown

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