A BRAVE Cork nine-year-old who has leukaemia has been given a “sprinkle of magic” this Christmas.
Darragh Nolan’s parents noticed he began to lack energy during football before he was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2019.
But they said he walked away a different boy after reaching new heights on a camp adventure thanks to vital charity Barretstown.
Barretstown provides free and specially-designed therapeutic programmes for children living with serious illness and their families.
And they are appealing to the public for donations this Christmas.
Having been barely able to walk, Darragh proved his strength and determination by taking part in the Barretstown camp – and his parents say what he got from it is unforgettable.
Dad Karl said: “The beautiful thing was everyone around the wall were giving that encouragement to the child to get up and reach their goal.
“Darragh was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2019.
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“In the run-up to that Christmas in 2019, he spent more time in our local hospital – the Mercy in Cork – than at home.
“The cancer and treatments had taken such a toll on him. Both physically and emotionally.
“He’d lost his hair, an incredible amount of weight, and life had become about medications, injections and feeding tubes. And infection, after infection, after infection.
“It was then that Barretstown stepped in with an invitation.
“Cancer is cruel, it steals so much of the joy and magic of childhood.
“But Barretstown gives it back. It gives children, like our Darragh, their confidence back – helping them smile again. Helping them go on.”
The charity was forced to cancel many fundraising campaigns due to the pandemic and now relies on donations by the public to bring a little magic to kids’ lives.
They’ve urged anyone who can to dig deep this Christmas.
Speaking about their Christmas Appeal, Barretstown CEO Dee Ahearn said: “After another tough year, we will all be looking forward to some quality time this Christmas.
“These difficult times, make us all cherish the true importance of family and good health.
“As we reopened our gates in June to serve children and their families, we were blown away by the support from the Irish people. Covid-19 has not made it easy.
“The many extra precautions, and safeguards needed, as well as implementing all of our Covid-19 protocols with associated costs has been difficult.
“This Christmas, the majority of families that we serve will be shielding away from extended family and friends due to the child’s serious health condition.
“At Barretstown we see that family really does mean so much, particularly at Christmas time.
“This year we are asking the Irish public to visit www.Barretstown.org to donate to support Barretstown in any way they can.”