"In Barretstown we heard a sound that was missing from our lives for the months prior - Laughter."
How It Began
Alex's mum Louise discovered a lump on his side one day in Spring 2019, just as they were getting ready for GAA training. As a precaution he was brought to Temple Street hospital, and following several scans, Alex was diagnosed with a Wilm's tumour.
``It was something he would have been born with. But it had now grown so large, that it had pushed his liver up and kidney out, which is why we could see the swelling for the first time. It was terrifying. The next day we transferred to Crumlin. And by Wednesday he’d started chemo.``
- Louise Moore, Alex's Mum
Coping with Treatment
After 8 weeks of chemotherapy, Alex's tumour was removed, but the doctors discovered cancerous cells surrounding the kidney, resulting in a further 30-week course of treatment.
``It’s only looking back now, that I can see how much it took out of all of us. How exhausted and running on empty everyone was. At the time we were all too busy just trying to survive. Running on autopilot. Focused on protecting Alex`` - Alex's mum Louise.
When a child becomes seriously ill, it puts their childhood on pause, and can bring life to a halt for their whole family. Day to day life can be entirely disrupted, as hospital stays and grueling treatments become everything, in the fight for survival. The joy of play and laughter fall to the wayside.
And then we went to Barretstown...
``It was just the most incredible, magical experience. In just a few days, it changed our outlook on everything.
``It was amazing just to all be together, as a family. And for the first time since the diagnosis, to feel like we didn’t have a worry in the world.
It’s funny – it’s a camp for sick children, but ‘cancer’ was not mentioned once that whole weekend.
``It gave Alex the boost and strength he needed to face those final 4 weeks of chemo. It recharged all of us – to get over that finish line. To hear our little boy ring that bell on his last day of chemo.``
- Louise Moore
Alex Moore ringing the bell after finishing his cancer treatment ...
I want to give:
A Lasting Impact
That’s what the medically endorsed Therapeutic Recreation programmes here at Barretstown are all about. Teaching children & families who are battling serious illnesses like cancer to have fun again. And through that fun we can begin to repair the damage that the illness has done.
Serious illness can bring the fun of being a child grinding to a halt. At Barretstown, we Press Play on childhood.
``It really is a little magic wonderland, hidden away. Packed full of the best medicine of all – serious fun and lots of laughter! It’s like it’s in our DNA now, it’s part of us... Barretstown is part of our family now.``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.