The annual IzzyB’s Away with the Fairies event at Strokestown Park House promises to be bigger and better than ever as thousands are once again expected to flock to the magical County Roscommon venue on June 11th
. Now in its fourth year the IzzyB’s Away with the Fairies Day event was initiated by the family and friends of Childhood Cancer Survivor, Isobel (IzzyB) Cullinan from Strokestown.
Funds raised from this year’s Fairy Day will go towards helping local children just like Isobel who are undergoing cancer treatments in a number of Shared Care Hospitals in the locality including Mullingar, Portiuncula, University College Hospital Galway, Sligo General and Mayo General in conjunction with the Childhood Cancer Foundation who are continuing to work closely with St. John’s Ward, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and the 16 shared care hospitals nationwide to support Ireland’s fight against childhood cancer.
IzzyB’s Away with the Fairies Day has raised over €50,000 in the past three years to assist in funding supports and services for children and teens battling cancer and their families.
‘Izzy’ is a daughter of Laura O’ Rourke Cullinan and John Cullinan, a former County Meath footballer. Isobel is now cancer free and is due to start primary school this September. Although Isobel is currently cancer free it is unfortunately not the end of hospital visits for the five year old County Roscommon girl as she still requires regular check-ups, monitoring and further analysis to determine how exactly the cancer diagnosis has affected her development.
“Even though Izzy’s hair has grown back and she is currently cancer free and will be starting school this September to the outside world all might seem fine but you never really know what is going on, on the inside.
“The fact is the drugs, radiations, surgeries, indeed all treatments to do with cancer come with a huge price tag. Short and long term effects, the facts speak for themselves.
“Childhood cancer creates more empty chairs around the table that any other disease. Childhood Cancer is a lifelong disease, first the child has to survive the cancer treatments, then they have to survive the lasting effects these treatments give them,” explained Laura.
Childhood cancer survivors can face a range of possible long term side effects including heart failure, heart defects, secondary cancers while children who have had cancer treatment can also show signs of cognitive learning disabilities etc.
Laura explained the benefits of the Share Care Hospitals:
“Children from outside the Dublin catchment area generally attend their Shared Care hospital while in treatment. All chemotherapy is administered from Crumlin, your Oncology team is in Crumlin but you could attend your Shared Care hospital for bloods, if your child is febrile, ill or if your child needs a transfusion as Crumlin is so busy and stretched. Shared Care hospitals are a hugely important part of the team when a child is diagnosed. One on the things I will never forget is the importance of moving quickly and being treated quickly when your child is ill as not acting as quickly as possible can be the difference between life and death.”
Funds raised from this year’s Fairy Day will go towards funding these Shared Care Hospitals to make life a little more bearable for very ill children and their families.
Children undergoing cancer treatment must be kept in isolation which means no access to the general paediatric ward and no access to the playroom. Most Shared Care Hospitals don’t have play services available; there are no toys for the isolation rooms, no working TV’s, no beds for parents to sleep in or en-suites for immune suppressed kids/teens to use.
The IzzyB’s Away with the Fairies event will take place at Strokestown Park Estate on Sunday, 11th June from 1pm – 5p.m. Strokestown Park’s Woodland will again be magically transformed into a fairy woodland park for the day and children will enjoy a whole host of fun activities including fairy & pirate workshops, a fairy outdoor cinema, face painting, bouncy castles, a fun family raffle, fairy dancing with Youth Ballet West. One of the big attractions on the day will be ‘Emerald Garrison, a Star Wars costume company which is sure to prove a bit hit while there will also be a Berg go-kart track on site with a fantastic Berg go-kart to give away on the day. Please remember to dress appropriately, Mystical Magical or Scurvy Scallywag attire necessary!
The Irish Fairy Door Company will also be attending the event to entertain children with Tales of Fairy adventures. There will be a Treasure Hunt for the adventurous Fairies & Pirates in the Fairy Woodland.
Entry for this fantastic event is just €10 for children, €35 for a family of 4 or more and adults and under 2’s are free. All proceeds from the entry fee and raffle will go directly to Childhood Cancer Foundation for the provision of the Foundation’s Shared Care Project to improve isolation room facilities and services for children with cancer and their families at 16 Shared Care Hospitals Nationwide.