Sunday 22 April 2018

Grateful family raise €1,200 for Barretstown

Dafne Mancosu (second from left) at home in Lusk with her family – Marco, Maggie, Aliseo and Greta – who raised €1,200 for Barretstown Camp.
Dafne Mancosu (second from left) at home in Lusk with her family – Marco, Maggie, Aliseo and Greta – who raised €1,200 for Barretstown Camp.

John Manning

MORE than 100 neighbours and friends of a popular Italian family living in Lusk have turned out to support the family's fundraising efforts for Barretstown Camp, which has meant so much to their 10-year-old daughter who has battled an aggressive brain tumour for more than two years.

Little Dafne Mancosu has bravely fought against an aggressive brain tumour since she was first diagnosed at the age of seven. The little girl from Lusk has gone through radiotherapy, chemotherapy and two bone marrow transplants in hospitals in Ireland and Italy, in her struggle for health.

Dafne's problems first manifested themselves with changes in her mood and behaviour.

Her dad, Marco, recalled: 'We noticed changes in her mood and behaviour and she started limping and suffering stress at school. She fell out of bed one night and we took her to Temple Street where she had an MRI and she was diagnosed.'

Dafne was diagnosed with anaplastic large cells medullobastoma (an aggressive brain tumour) in 2010. She was treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and bone marrow transplants. both in Dublin and in Italy and she continues to have MRI scans at regular intervals.

The little girl battled bravely through all that treatment but the intensity of the therapy for the disease has left her with a number of physical and neurological problems.

Today, Dafne has learning difficulties, she has hearing and speech problems and she uses a wheelchair. She has had to leave her beloved Educate Together School in Lusk and now attends the Central Remedial Clinic for her education and rehabilitation.

Marco said: 'It has been a big change for everyone in the family. I have stopped working to help take care of Dafne. She has a lot of balance issues, problems with her speech and cognitive issues. She can't hear and is in a wheelchair and has a lot of neuro cognitive issues which means she has problem with her memory and with learning.

'These problems are all mostly because of the radiotherapy she had to have.'

What has managed to bring a little bit of joy to Lusk family's life is their relationship with Barretstown.

Dafne and her siblings have enjoyed breaks at the camp and at a similar facility in Italy, and according to Marco, places like Barretstown allow children with severe health problems to forget about it all for a while and enjoy themselves and it's hard to put a price on that.

For the joy the camp has brought into their lives, the Mancosu family, Marco, Maggie, Dafne, Aliseo and Greta, decided to give something back and hosted a party for their friends and neighbours that raised over €1,200 for Barretsotwn.

Olivier Colas of 'Crepes and Craic' kindly donated their catering services to the cause and brought a French touch to this Italian party in the middle of Lusk.

There was live music and face-painting and the whole event became a great show of solidarity for the family from their friends and neighbours in their adopted home in Lusk.

Marco thanked everyone who came out and supported the event and said that Lusk was a wonderful community to raise a family in and that the support his family had got from the local community was very much appreciated.

The outlook for little Dafne, from a medical point of view, still has a 'question mark over it', according to Marco, but the brave little girl is getting on with her life and doing what she can at the CRC to recover from the tumour she suffered and the difficult therapy that followed.

'She has learning difficulties but doesn't mean that she can't learn – she takes her time and she needs a little more time than others but she loves reading and loves having people around her.

'It is difficult for her to interact with other children but she plays with her brother and sister,' Marco explained.

The family know one thing and that is the value of places like Barretstown.

They intend to continue their relationship with the camp and host an annual fundraiser in aid of the cause.

Fingal Independent