Yesterday, my colleague Michael McDonnell and myself were invited to Barretstown to mark the annual International Childhood Cancer Day.
For 17 years Barretstown Castle has been the center for the Barretstown foundation’s work with and for children with life-threatening illnesses. For the past three years, the Smurfit MBA has adopted Barretstown as their charity.
Speaking at the event yesterday was Ireland’s President Mary McAleese, who delivered a very touching and personal speech, starting of by saying that ‘childhood’ and ‘cancer’ are two words that does not sit well together and commending the work Barretstown does to show children and their families that they are not in this alone.
One of the speakers, an 18-year old cancer survivor spoke about how Barretstown had helped her restore her confidence after her illness and that the Barretstown Castle was like a Hogwarts of the real world.
Good news came from consultant paediatric haematologist Prof Owen Smith who said the prognosis for childhood cancers was getting better with every year and that there was now a 85 per cent overall cure rate, rising to 90 to 95 per cent for those with childhood leukaemia.
On average three children every week in Ireland are diagnosed with cancer, about a third of them with leukaemia so the need for places like Barretstown is in great demand.
One of the fundraising initiatives for the Smurfit MBA Charity Club this year is to participate in the BUPA 10K Run for Ireland through Phoenix Park, all in support of Barretstown.
Recently, the UCD Smurfit MBA Rugby Club was selected as one of 200 clubs, by the Irish Daily Mail, to participate in their Kit for Kids promotion and the Smurfit MBA Rugby Club will similarly donate the kit to Barretstown.
If you are interested in helping the Smurfit MBA Rugby Club and Barretstown, you may drop in or send your Daily Mail tokens to the MBA Office at the UCD Smurfit School in Blackrock.
– Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager