In 2014, our daughter Caroline, then aged almost 5 years old, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in Waterford Regional Hospital. She was rushed to Temple Street Children’s Hospital and a week or so later, she underwent several operations to have shunts inserted in her head to drain the fluid buildup caused by the tumour. At this stage, we also discovered that Caroline had no vision in her right eye.

Since 2015, Caroline has undergone several types of chemotherapy and has had to deal with the various side effects these caused. She has had numerous Freddies (central lines) inserted and removed, countless MRIs, CT scans, blood tests and hospital stays. In addition to this, Caroline has had to have her shunts replaced several times. She has received treatment in Temple Street, Crumlin and The Mercy in Cork.

Unfortunately, the chemotherapy has only held Caroline’s tumour at bay and once any treatment is stopped, it starts to grow again. As her last 2 MRIs have shown that the tumour is growing once again, her team in Crumlin advised us that proton therapy (a more targeted form of radiotherapy) was the next treatment option for Caroline. We always knew that this might be an option, but it was a daunting proposition as this type of treatment is only available in either Essen in Germany or Manchester.

Once it was confirmed that Caroline was going to Germany for her treatment, we contacted John Glynn of The Gavin Glynn Foundation. We cannot praise John, his wife Jayne and the charity they set up in memory of their son Gavin highly enough. John has organised everything for us from start to finish. He booked flights, hotels and transfers for our initial trip to Essen back in November. He also has a team set up in Aer Lingus who meet you at the door of Dublin Airport and accompany you the whole way through the airport to your seat on the plane. They are doing this on a voluntary basis and during their time off.  Thanks to Niamh, Karen, Tina and Rhys for looking after us so well, ye made what is a very stressful situation a whole lot easier.

No matter the time of day or night John is always at the end of the phone to deal with any query or request you have, and nothing is too much trouble. Caroline and I travelled to Essen again on the 6th December to start Caroline’s 30 sessions of treatment. Again, John booked flights, transfers and a beautiful apartment for us in Essen close to the hospital. We will be here for approx. 6 weeks while Caroline is receiving the treatment. We will forever be indebted to The Gavin Glynn Foundation.

Our daughter Caroline is a wonderful child. She has battled her brain tumour since she was 5 years old (she is 14 now). She always has a smile on her face and no matter what treatment or procedure she has to face she gets on with it and is always thankful to those who help her along the way. She lives for her grannies and grandads, her uncles, aunts, lots of cousins and her school friends. She has 5 wonderful sisters and her Daddy Pat, who she is mad about. We are both looking forward to returning home to Ireland towards the end of January and seeing everyone again.

If anybody has the opportunity to support the Gavin Glynn Foundation at any stage please do so, they are a wonderful organisation, and we cannot thank them enough.

Pat and Breda Kenny

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