BrainwavesNI Weekend Break 2019

On Friday 13th September 2019 Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown welcomed 100 of our members for two nights break from the norm and to spend quality time with their family in a safe and friendly environment.  Everyone was welcomed at 7pm by the committee members when they were issued with their colour coded name badges to be worn at all times for the duration of the trip.  The idea behind this was each colour represented a tumour type or as close to this tumour type so that those individuals could look out for others who may have shared a similar journey and then sit down beside them and have a chat.   The carer or family member who came along with them had a slightly different badge but again identifiable with others in same situation.  This proved an excellent way of getting everyone to mingle and introduce themselves to others in the room.

Saturday morning most of the families met at 10.15am and set off to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.  The sun was shining and it was a glorious day for everyone to enjoy some history & culture.  Some of the members chose to spend this time just relaxing at the hotel and making use of the gym and pool whilst others may have had a dander round the market and shops in Cookstown.   I believe a couple of ladies even treated themselves to a facial and some reflexology.

At 6pm everyone was gathered again in the Adair suite for an absolutely gorgeous carvery meal.  The staff working the dining room that evening were first class and attended to anyone who had special dietary needs extremely professionally and efficiently.  Everyone commented on how attentive & friendly the staff were.  Once the bellies were full there was a surprise for the children.

Ryan Tracey balloons was on hand from 730pm to entertain the children and for the next 2 hours he did just that.  Ryan appeared on Britain’s got Talent in 2017 and in his first audition broke the Guinness World record for the ‘fastest time to model five balloon structures blindfolded.  He went on to be a semi finalist that year.  Well he was a winner on Saturday evening with the families and all the children walked away with at least 2 model balloons ranging from dogs to horses to headsets to guns.  The list is endless what he was able to make for the kids and we are ever so grateful for Ryan taking the time with each and every child.

After Ryan left at 9.30pm here were a lot of exhausted children and parents from the busy dad they had and so many headed to bed.  A few stayed up a bit later continuing to share their experiences with brain tumours and how they coped at difficult times.

Checkout was at 11am on Sunday and as everyone was leaving to head home they commented on how fabulous a weekend away it was and how they have enjoyed meeting up with some old friends and of course meeting some new ones.

Some of the feedback that was received is listed below:

  • ‘Being able to talk to families who understand what battles have to be fought’
  • ‘The weekend really helped with the isolation we felt since diagnosis’
  • ‘Meeting other ch8ildren with the same condtion & realising he is not alone’
  • ‘We had such a wonderful time meeting new families & old friends…thank you’
  • ‘Helps with the isolation a brain tumour brings’
  • ‘The best time my family have had in a long time. We had a fab time’
  • ‘I loved seeing my sister chatting & laughing with everyone knowing they knew exactly what she was feeling’
  • ‘Everything was excellent, really enjoyed the weekend & all the families mixed really well’
  • ‘The relaxation and break from worry was invaluable’
  • ‘The system of colour coded name badges was an excellent idea’
  • ‘Thanks for an amazing weekend, it was great to see the kids so happy & enjoying themselves’
  • ‘Every element was class, a MILLION thanks’

BrainwavesNI would not be able to offer this invaluable trip without the support of all our fundraisers and donations.  On behalf of everyone we thank all of you for your continued support to these families and hope we can continue to offer these breaks in the future.