'I was so surprised and excited to see that Daisy’s photo had been used by the festival this year! My world was blown apart when Daisy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in October 2015. Daisy had been a normal, healthy 3 year old who had just started nursery, so to be told she had childhood cancer rather than what we thought was a virus was devastating. The next 8 months were spent in and out of hospital undergoing numerous procedures with daily steroids and heavy duty chemotherapy. The treatment made Daisy extremely poorly and weak but there was no alternative. A result of this was her immune system being completely non-existent leaving her open to catching infections from any viruses and bacteria she was exposed to.
In July of 2016 she started maintenance therapy which still meant daily chemo but at a much lower dose meaning that hospital stays and infections were less frequent. It was around then that I stumbled across an ad on Facebook for Chilled in a Field Festival. It looked amazing and wasn’t too big so I took the plunge and booked tickets. It was a truly magical experience! It was heart warming to meet so many lovely people all gathered together in a safe and beautiful environment where Daisy, for the first time in ages, could run free and play without restrictions. I was even able to let my hair down and enjoy a few gins knowing that Daisy was safe, happy and being looked out for.
By amazing chance we pitched our tent next to a family from who were veterans of the Chilled scene and one of the Mums told us she worked as a children’s nurse at a hospital in Cheshire on a paediatric cancer ward and knew exactly what Daisy’s condition was! That made me so much less anxious knowing that there was someone close by who understood. During the time Daisy had no hair, she was stared at in the street and asked by other children whether she was a boy or girl. This upset her but she refused to wear a wig as it was not comfortable. She was immediately accepted at the festival. There were no stares, whispers or questions. She made friends and had a great time exploring, making crafts, visiting the little museum and toasting marshmallows on the open fire. What a great first festival experience for her!! She is so excited to be coming back this year.
Daisy has now finished her 2.5 years treatment and remains in remission. She will not be deemed to be cured until she is 11 years old. There are still lots of check ups and tests to endure but she is getting stronger by the day. She is back at school full time and has just started joining in the physical activities she has been unable to do for so long. As rubbish as this diagnosis is, it has taught us all as a family that being spontaneous, having fun and not giving a hoot about what others think is the most valuable lesson of all. Long may it continue!
Thank you to all at CIAF for all the hard work you put in to make such a special event.
You can read more about accessibility at Chilled in a Field here. We love reading your festival stories so do share them with us. See you in the field!
With thanks Jane for sharing her lovely story.