Carla from Clady, Co. Armagh was diagnosed with breast cancer on 1st April 2020, at the start of lockdown. It’s a day she says she ‘will never forget’. Just nine days later on the 10thApril Carla had a full mastectomy and her lymph nodes removed.
Speaking about her experience, Carla who is mum to two daughters Shanna (12) and Meghan (7) said,
“Shanna and Meghan have been coping really well in spite of everything. I think you can underestimate young children. You think they don’t understand what’s going on but really, they do.
Because of lockdown I had to go through my surgery and treatment on my own. It all happened so quickly. Shanna and Meghan weren’t at school and were stuck at home, so it made such a difference for them to be able to engage and interact with others, thanks to Cancer Fund for Children.
My breast care nurse made a referral to Cancer Fund for Children for me, and the charity has been an amazing support since. Shanna and Meghan took part in the Cahoots virtual magic show which Cancer Fund for Children organised and they loved it. We all went to the Christmas Drive in Cinema event at Let’s Go Hydro, which was just fantastic. The girls hope to take part in the online group support but Shanna’s just that little shy, so we are building up to that.
On Mother’s Day weekend we had our first stay in Daisy Lodge. There are just no words to describe that place. It is out of this world – the food, the staff, the bedrooms, the view. It was amazing, and everything was spotless.
It makes me feel emotional talking about our experience at Daisy Lodge, it was wonderful to be able to have that time together as a family. We met another family staying there. We got chatting after dinner when we were sitting on the sofas by the fire. The children’s mum also had breast cancer and she had the same oncologist as me, so the two of us have kept in touch. It’s been so valuable making friends with someone else in the same boat, who knows what we are going through. The knowledge that other families are going through this too makes you feel less alone.
Even though not all the services were available because of COVID restrictions the two activities we took part including the family chill session and arts and crafts were amazing. The girls loved playing in the games room with toys that they didn’t have at home. We sat for hours in the games room most evenings playing on the PlayStation.
You are not like a guest in Daisy Lodge, you are part of one big family. It’s such a personal experience. The staff know your situation and they really go out of their way to make you feel special. They truly are amazing.
There is no other place like Daisy Lodge offering this support for families like mine dealing with a cancer diagnosis. It really is a safe haven for children, a place where they can go and meet others and know they are not alone. Children need support and they need that support to continue if they lose a parent. Cancer Fund for Children provides this.
We are so grateful to Carla for sharing her story. Children and families who are struggling with the emotional impact of cancer need our support now more than ever. Please, donate what you can today to help us support more families like Carla’s.