Cancer Fund for Children officially launched today pledging specialist support to Irish families facing a devastating diagnosis of childhood cancer. Over time, the Charity will roll out a range of residential and community based services which will also include a therapeutic short break facility located in County Mayo.
Built on evidence of a gap in support for families nursing a child with cancer in Ireland, Cancer Fund for Children will begin to introduce its model of psycho-social support. The model of support provided by our Specialist Services team has been showcased at an International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Conference in Dublin 2016; widely recognised for its effectiveness and we are now planning to roll out these services throughout Ireland.
It means children, young people and their families will receive practical and emotional help at home and in the community. This includes the offer of a free therapeutic short break.
The plan, which will create new jobs and bring inward investment into a rural area, is being backed by The Rory Foundation. The charitable foundation of four time Major winner Rory McIlroy has pledged €1.2m as part of a major donor strategy that will help turn this long term vision into a reality.
Plans are already well advanced to purchase a site in an area of outstanding natural beauty in line with the charity’s therapeutic remit in Cong, County Mayo. The new purpose-built complex, which will cost approximately €13.5m to build and run over three years, will be modelled upon and named after the charity’s existing therapeutic short break centre, Daisy Lodge, in Newcastle, County Down.
Since it opened its doors in 2014, Daisy Lodge, Newcastle has accommodated over 1,000 families from all over Ireland living with a diagnosis of childhood cancer providing them with a chance to receive specialist therapeutic support from trained practitioners and relax and spend quality time together in a unique, purpose-built, peaceful environment, far removed from gruelling cancer-treatment and hospital visits.
Such has been the success of the award-winning facility that demand for short breaks is now outstripping supply and a waiting list is in operation with over 50 families waiting to use the service at any given time. The creation of a new therapeutic short break centre in Connacht will reduce that pressure and establishes a necessary base from which Cancer Fund for Children can deliver its community services.
Speaking on behalf of Cancer Fund for Children, the Charity’s Chairman Eddie Byrne said:
“Cancer Fund for Children’s long term goal is 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 Ireland 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 be 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.”
Rory McIlroy said:
“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.”
Cancer Fund for Children’s plans in Ireland will replicate the services provided by Cancer Fund for Children in Northern Ireland. For over 40-years, it has been delivering support to children, young people and their families affected by cancer in Northern Ireland and for the last 20-years to families from across Ireland. It is also the only charity in Ireland and the UK providing free therapeutic short breaks.
Cancer Fund for Children provides community services, therapeutic short breaks and residential group work all of which is based on a deep understanding of the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have on the whole family, and that beyond essential medical care, there is a family life that needs to be supported and rebuilt.
Cancer Fund for Children is a registered charity in Ireland RCN 20142681. It was set up in 2015 and is overseen by a Board of non-executive directors.