This day last year, little Darcie Belle was being wheeled to theatre to have her brain tumour removed.
“Realising that you need help and that your child is sick is so hard to accept – it took me a long time to even say ‘brain tumour'” – Holly, Darcie Belle’s Mum
2017 had only just begun when Darcie Belle Kelly from South Dublin began her Temple Street story. She had come from another children’s hospital for treatment, having been diagnosed over Christmas with a brain tumour that was causing seizures. Her mum Holly said that it came out of nowhere.
The family met with the consultant, Darach Crimmins, who recommended surgery for the tumour. Although the family were scared at the prospect, they knew that an operation was the best choice for Darcie Belle. She was having seizures on a daily basis and had quickly lost the ability to speak.
It was an extremely stressful time for the family, who had welcomed new baby Jonah just six weeks before. Jonah had arrived prematurely, spending some time in ICU. Holly says that being away from the rest of the family and normal routine was incredibly difficult.
However, their minds were put at ease on St. Gabriel’s Ward – which became a home away from home during Darcie Belle’s time in hospital.
“We love them all on Gabriel’s Ward and we always will. What amazing care they give. They make it as fun as they can for the children with music and games. But the staff aren’t just treating the child – also the parents. If they can do anything to help you, they will.”
Going to the theatre with her daughter on the day of Darcie Belle’s surgery, was one of Holly’s hardest moments. “But I knew from then it would get better. I don’t think as a family we can put into words how we feel about Dr. Crimmins. People like him change lives – not just the child but also the family.”
Darcie Belle continues to attend Temple Street for check ups and to pop in and say hello to the doctors and nurses who looked after her so well.
A year to the day since her surgery, Darcie Belle has come a long long way. Holly says, “All I wanted to hear was for her to say Mama again…and she did. Now she sings in a choir and speaks both Irish and English!”