Mary Claire Rennick Director
Mary Claire Rennick is a lawyer and mother of three children. She lives in County Meath. Mary-Claire became involved in Childhood Cancer Foundation 4 months after her 10 year old daughter Alice was diagnosed with Acute Promylocytic Leukaemia in February 2013. She completed treatment in May 2015.
Prior to her own child’s diagnosis Mary-Claire says that she was very unaware of the number of children diagnosed annually with cancer and the harsh realities that this diagnosis brings. Alice’s family will be forever grateful to an astute GP, early diagnosis and to the wonderful team in St John’s Haematology Oncology Ward in Our Lady’s Children’s Crumlin for the excellent medical treatment and compassionate care her daughter received. However, she also learnt that childhood cancer supports and services were desperately in need of increased funding and needed a strong representative voice to advocate for positive change. She believes that Childhood Cancer Foundation through its awareness campaigns such as Light It Up Gold, advocacy work, co-operation with other organisations and projects funded can bring about that change and help to ensure a brighter future for children with cancer and their families.
Laura Cullinan Director
Laura Cullinan lives in County Roscommon, with her husband John and three children. She is a Financial Consultant. In 2014 her middle child Isobel (then 21 months) was treated for a Wilms Tumour in Our Lady’s Children's Hospital, Crumlin. Isobel had chemotherapy before surgery to remove her left kidney along with the tumour followed by a post operative chemotherapy regime. 12 months post treatment, a routine chest x-ray found a new lesion on her lung and she commenced a 7 month Chemotherapy/Radiation protocol followed by surgery to remove part of her lung. Isobel is now thankfully cancer free and is recuperating well. She was delighted to return to all her little friends in Creche in March 2016.
Laura became involved with Childhood Cancer Foundation during the Light It Up Gold 2014 campaign. She feels passionate about the work of the charity. Laura believes Isobel was very fortunate to have had the benefit of early diagnosis and that it is vital that every child receives the same chances as her daughter had to fight this dreadful disease. Increased public awareness of childhood cancer will ultimately lead to more funding and research, early diagnosis, improved survival rates and less side effects from harsh chemotherapy drugs and treatment protocols. Since 2014 Laura and her amazing committee have been running Izzy B’s Away With The Fairies Day at Strokestown Park House in Roscommon. This magical fun filled family day raises awareness of childhood cancer and funds for projects on St John’s Paediatric cancer ward at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.
Naomi Gould Director
Childhood Cancer Foundation is delighted to welcome Naomi Gould as a director. Naomi Gould is a qualified social care practitioner with over eight years experience working in the non-profit sector in the areas of Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Child Protection, the Criminal justice system and human rights advocacy.
Having managed a national registered charity in Ireland, with a team of over 40 staff and volunteers, Naomi has experience in managing major national awareness campaigns, project management, fundraising and volunteer training and management.
Naomi worked in New Zealand in 2011 and Nepal in 2016 with children and young people affected by the devastating earthquakes in both countries. In 2014, she was awarded a Certificate of Service by the New Zealand Police Force for her work with the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.
As a sister and daughter of cancer patients, Naomi is aware of the devastating impact of the disease on families. She is deeply committed to using her skills and experiences to assist the work of Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Naomi is acting Chairperson of the Sarah Bird Foundation.
Virginia Murray lives in County Donegal with her husband and three children. She is an intensive care nurse. In 2010/11 her eldest daughter Ciara (then 7) was treated for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin. She required two bone marrow transplants. Her daughter’s treatment was intense and shocking on so many levels. She suffered serious complications from the chemotherapy requiring numerous surgeries and a long recovery.
She says of that time, “Our experience as parents was that of finding ourselves stuck in a nightmare. We are so fortunate to have come through the other side with our beautiful daughter safe and well and it's difficult to express the level of gratitude we feel to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. I am acutely aware on a daily basis of the many children and parents still stuck in the nightmare of pain and fear and that has what has motivated me to get involved with Childhood Cancer Foundation.”
Aine Richards works part time as a Psychiatric Nurse along with being a busy mum of 4. She works and lives in Dublin. Her second eldest daughter Niamh was diagnosed with a Wilm's Tumour at age 6, she had pre-surgery chemotherapy before having an operation to remove her left kidney along with the tumour followed by an intensive chemotherapy regime for nearly 9 months. Nearly 2 years afterwards Niamh became unwell with complications that arose as a result of her initial surgery, she had major surgery to resolve this...Now she is an extremely energetic 9 year old!
Aine became involved in Childhood Cancer Foundation during the Light It Up Gold 2013 campaign, she feels passionate about the Childhood Cancer Foundation as she believes that no family should feel alone on their journey with childhood cancer.
Aoife Clarke is an office administrator and lives with her husband and their teenage son and 2 daughters in County Wicklow. Her daughter Alice was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in July 2012 at 2 years and 3 months old. Within a few months of her diagnosis, Aoife began fundraising to help finish the refurbishment of the haematology/ oncology unit in Our Lady's Hospital, Crumlin. Along the way she met like-minded parents and family members and they all came to the realisation that childhood cancer is vastly underfunded and unnoticed.
They could see large areas for improvement in the system and a need for greater supports for our children and their siblings and parents that just weren't being met. That is why she set up Childhood Cancer Foundation with a group of parents that she met through the Light It Up Gold campaign. Aoife says: “My daughter is still in treatment and will be until February 2015.
She will be monitored for relapse until she passes puberty so childhood cancer will be a large part of our lives for a very long time. I feel that being a part of Childhood Cancer Foundation is a positive focus for me, and hopefully we can make a difference.”
Jane McAdoo is a financial consultant living in Meath with her husband and 3 children. Her youngest son James then aged 5 was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in February 2013. He remains in treatment until 2016 and will be monitored up to the age of 16. Jane is thankful to Tallaght Hospital who diagnosed what initially seemed to be an orthopaedic issue and to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin for the excellent medical care James has received. She realises that her son was very lucky to have been diagnosed and started on treatment at such an early stage.
Jane firmly believes that all family members are deeply affected by a childhood cancer diagnosis and that the psychological impact on the wider family and community is very significant. Jane first volunteered with CCF in 2015 and dedicates her time and energy to the work of Childhood Cancer Foundation to initiate support programmes for children in treatment and their families.
Gillian Smith lives in Kildare. Her only son Dylan (14) was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour while visiting family in Chicago, USA when Dylan was 10. Dylan had several brain surgeries and proton radiation treatment in the USA and then came home to Ireland for chemotherapy. This treatment was very severe and Dylan is still dealing with many side effects. However he is getting stronger all the time and his intelligence and charisma light up everyone he meets.
Gillian was keenly aware of the differences in facilities and resources for children in Ireland and abroad from her experience with Dylan. She also wanted to increase awareness around childhood cancer. This prompted her to join the Light It Up Gold campaign in 2013 and to form Childhood Cancer Foundation to create a permanent group that will have a positive impact on families affected by childhood cancer.
Gillian says, “I was surrounded by family and friends who supported us. Dylan’s school was particularly supportive of both of us, this support definitely had a positive impact on Dylan’s frame of mind while recovering from treatment. I would like to ensure that others receive the same understanding in their communities when dealing with childhood cancer treatment and side effects.”
Maura Toner lives in Donegal, is a Legal Costs Accountant by profession and mother of three children. Emer, her second child, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, at the age of 9 months, in Sept 2007. Being told that their baby had only a 50% chance of survival and that "the treatment could kill her" had a devastating impact on the entire family circle. Emer immediately started an intensive regimen of chemotherapy and underwent surgery in May 2008.
After a very difficult year, with many extended stays in Letterkenny and Crumlin hospitals (25 miles and 150 miles respectively from the family home), Emer was in remission by Sept 2008. Almost 7 years on thankfully Emer remains cancer free. Having experienced first-hand the awful psychological trauma which the treatment had on her daughter, her son and indeed herself, Maura sees a great need for support services for families who are affected by this terrible disease, from the date of diagnosis. Like many others parents in this diabolical situation, she quickly learned that only those who had a seriously ill child, fully appreciated what she and her husband were enduring. Maura hopes that through her work with Childhood Cancer Foundation, she can reach out to and support other parents by sharing her experiences, which extended long after remission. Maura is also determined to raise much needed awareness about childhood cancer and strongly believes that more awareness will lead to research and ultimately cures.