Eimear calling on local people to support plans to build Daisy Lodge County Mayo

 In Ireland, News, Therapeutic Short Breaks
“Our Lives changed forever the day our baby girl was diagnosed with cancer’

Eimear Hardiman, from Navan, is calling on local people to support Cancer Fund for Children’s plans to build a new therapeutic short break centre for families facing childhood cancer in Ireland. Eimear’s baby girl was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). Speaking about her daughter Clodagh’s cancer diagnosis Eimear said,

Clodagh in the playroom at Daisy Lodge

“Clodagh was a perfectly healthy 16-month old girl.  She had never been sick before July 2017. One evening when we were sitting down for dinner we noticed that she had a drooping eye and around her right eye was swollen. Clodagh had begun crèche a few weeks earlier and she had a few bruises that weren’t going away.

The next day we went to our GP and got Clodagh her first course of antibiotics for the inflammation around her eye.  On Sunday, she fell while running out of the kitchen and her lip bled for 30 minutes. As it wasn’t stopping I became more concerned and brought her to the local hospital in Navan. They sent me to Drogheda where there was a paediatric ward. We spent several hours in A & E where they examined Clodagh before letting her home.

By Wednesday Clodagh had become more lethargic and spent most of the day on the couch, which was very out of character for her.  It was a challenge to keep her out of bed.  The GP referred us to the hospital in Drogheda and after a routine blood test the team there they advised us of their suspicions. Our lives changed forever that day.  On Friday July 21st it was confirmed that Clodagh had ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia).

The news was a complete shock. Clodagh had her first operation that very Friday at 4pm not even 24 hours after being diagnosed. She couldn’t talk so it was difficult for us to know how she was feeling. She wasn’t eating very much or drinking. She had to have a special tube inserted to feed, water and medicate her, we called it Barney! Clodagh was put on steroids for 39 days straight which made her very cranky and listless. She was on this along with lots of chemo and more medication to help with the side effects.

Clodagh had to endure five tough weeks in hospital. During this time I was 37 weeks pregnant with our second child Teaghan. Throughout Clodagh’s treatment I lay in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin with Clodagh on my bump before Teaghan came into the world.  The best part was that we all came home from hospital together.”

We were able to offer Eimear and her family with a much needed therapeutic short break at Daisy Lodge our special facility in Newcastle, Co. Down.  Here we provide emotional and practical support in a non-clinical setting, recognising the importance of spending quality time together as a family.

However for every one family we can support, there are another seven waiting to receive a much needed short break. Therefore, we have made the decision to build a second Daisy Lodge to ensure all families across Ireland get the vital support they need.

We’re building Daisy Lodge, Co. Mayo on the beautiful shores of Lough Corrib, beside Cong Village.  It’s a tranquil, natural haven of forest, loughshore and fresh air.

Our new short break facility will allow us to provide specialist support to 400 families like Eimear’s every year.  Facilities in Daisy Lodge, Co Mayo will include seven family suites, a lounge and dining area, family cinema and activity area including age-appropriate playrooms for children and a relaxation area for parents that offers a therapy suite and beauty treatment rooms.

Speaking about her family’s short break in Daisy Lodge Newcastle Co. Down, Eimear said it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Our short break was a light shining in a very dark place as we had been through the toughest time in our lives. From the minute we

Clodagh and her younger sister Teaghan

walked in the doors of Daisy Lodge we felt at home, we felt relaxed and most importantly we felt normal.

Our short break gave us a chance to breathe for the first time since Clodagh was diagnosed with cancer.  We were totally pampered by the staff as they tended to our every need.  We had been housebound for the first few months after Clodagh came home from hospital and it was hard coping with two toddlers, let alone managing Clodagh’s illness. A therapeutic short break was exactly what we needed even though we didn’t realise it at the time.

Some of my most special memories are of getting up early in the morning and coming down to the warm cosy playrooms where the girls would have fun for hours on end.  It was just amazing to see how happy Clodagh was taking part in all the activities, having her first hair cut in their salon with her sister, and having her nails painted.  These are the little things we won’t forget.

Our short break made us feel normal again.  We didn’t have to explain anything.  It was simply a beautiful and refreshing weekend.  Afterwards we felt rejuvenated and ready to face the world again.  It would be amazing to have a facility like Daisy Lodge in Ireland.  Cancer Fund for Children give families a ray of sunshine during a really dark time.  We don’t have much fun and excitement in our lives on this journey so our short break truly was a breath of fresh air.”

Belinda Kearns, Cancer Fund for Children’s Relationship Development Manager  is calling on local businesses and the community for help.  She said,

Daisy Lodge Co. Mayo Artist’s Impression

“We opened our first Daisy Lodge at the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in 2014 and, in just five years, we’ve provided therapeutic, nurturing breaks to over 2,140 families from across Ireland. Daisy Lodge, Co. Mayo will be a tranquil space purpose built to rebuild the live of Irish families at possibly the most vulnerable, difficult and exhausting time in their lives.  I’m delighted to tell you that we’re already on our way – we’ve finished the building design, received planning permission and purchased the land.  We’ve taken the first steps.  Now we need the public’s help so that we can support every family affected by childhood cancer across Ireland.”

Find out how you can support Cancer Fund for Children’s plans to build Daisy Lodge, Co Mayo here or contact Belinda or call  087 7086484.
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