Cancer Fund for Children Announces Plans to build a Short Break Centre in Co Mayo
Cancer Fund for Children has announced exciting plans to build a new therapeutic short break centre for Irish families in Co. Mayo.
For over 40 years we have been delivering a wide range of support services to children and young people affected by cancer and their families in Northern Ireland, and for the last twenty years, we have also been providing short breaks to families caring for a child with cancer from across all of Ireland. We are the only charity in Ireland providing free therapeutic short breaks.
Gap in Support
In 2014 Cancer Fund for Children undertook research into the services provided to families throughout Ireland who are coping with the devastating impact of a cancer diagnosis. Our research revealed that aside from essential medical care and some localised help from smaller charities, overall support was scarce and fragmented.
As a result of these findings, and the fact that demand for therapeutic short breaks at Daisy Lodge, has exceeded available capacity (there are currently 50 families waiting to use the service at any given time) we have announced our plans to open a second facility in Co. Mayo Connacht. From here we will begin to introduce our community services which will see children, young people and their families receive practical, financial and emotional support.
We have chosen Connacht because our research and feedback has highlighted an increased level of isolation experienced by families living there. In addition, parents and children living in Connacht have the furthest distances to travel to their Dublin treatment hospitals and have very limited access to any community-based specialist support services.
Find out more about the project by watching this short video.
Our plans are being backed by the Rory Foundation, the charitable foundation of four time Major Winner Rory McIlroy, who have pledged €1.2m as part of major donor strategy that will help turn our long term vision into a reality.
How our plans progressing?
Cancer Fund for Children Ireland is now an officially registered charity in Ireland – Registered Charity Number 20142681 and is also recognised by the Irish Revenue Commissioners with CHY number 21682. This means we can begin to raise funds in Ireland to make this project a reality.
The charity in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are separate legal entities, with a different Board and separate fundraising remit. The organisations will share the same Senior Management Team and two joint Board Members so that the learned values and knowledge from our experience in NI can be shared with the new charity.
A potential site has been identified in an area of outstanding natural beauty near Cong, Co Mayo. In order to provide a therapeutic environment for families location is very important. Site testing and public consultation have already been carried out and a planning application submitted. Subject to planning approval the new purpose-built complex will be modelled upon, and share the same name, as its Daisy Lodge counterpart in Newcastle, Co. Down.
Voices of Support
“Having seen Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, County Down being developed from its foundations to what it is today is amazing. I’ve been back a couple of times since it opened and the facilities are exceptional. I have no doubt it will be the same in County Mayo. I am honoured to be able to support a second project.”
Rory McIlroy, Rory Foundation
“I think it will be great to have a similar service in the South for families. I would be in and out of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin from time to time and it’s the same rooms, it’s the same doctors and nurses, but it’s different faces, and they are going through the same experience as us. When we knew we were going for our short break at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle we would be talking about it for months. It gave us something to look forward to. The whole experience changed us as a couple. We look at life differently now. At the end of the day we still have Laura. We are the lucky ones.”
Dad Jonathan Crossan, from Co. Monaghan whose daughter Laura was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2015
“In the hospital setting at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, we provide the medical care that families need. What we cannot do alone, is rebuild families lives, those devastated by a childhood cancer diagnosis. That is what Cancer Fund for Children does in a truly exceptional way.”
Mary O’Rourke, Senior Social Worker Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital
““This is the first step in our long term goal to ensure that no family in Ireland should face a cancer diagnosis alone. Our research tells us that aside from essential medical care, families in ROI could positively benefit from the holistic support that Cancer Fund for Children currently offer to families affected by cancer in Northern Ireland. We have listened carefully to our families and the social workers and health professionals who support them, and are responding to their needs and requirements. The new therapeutic short break centre in Co. Mayo will is an exciting first step in a strategic longer term plan that aims to ensure that families from across Ireland have access to the support they need to cope with the impact cancer has on their lives.”
Eddie Byrne, Chariman Cancer Fund for Children in the Republic of Ireland.
“There are lots of families who have a child diagnosed with cancer in Ireland who can’t get the support that we get here in Northern Ireland. I know families from Ireland would really benefit from having somewhere like Cancer Fund for Children’s Daisy Lodge where they can go to quality spend time together as a family; somewhere they know that they are not alone on their cancer journey, and that support will be there for them. Knowing now that they will have the chance to spend time together at Cancer Fund for Children’s new therapeutic short break centre when it opens and have the charity’s support is just amazing.”
Mum Caroline Burns, from Lurgan whose daughter Katie was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in 2013.
How can you help?
We are currently seeking Major Donors to support Project Connacht. If you would like to learn more about our work please email Joanne@cancerfundforchildren.com or call 3531 5621 580.
Our first Gala Ball in the Shelbourne Hotel in September has raised a staggering €138K to help provide therapeutic short breaks to families across Ireland living with a childhood cancer diagnosis.
On the evening, we were also honoured to be able to present The Rory Foundation with the Global Impact Award in recognition of their commitment to make a difference to children diagnosed with cancer and their families.
A massive thank you to everyone who helped to make this first event such a resounding success.