Barretstown, a magical getaway

A castle nestled among the Irish hills, a serene lake and a lush forest with archery, pony rides, theater, and new adventures – this is Barretstown.  Without a doubt, it’s a magical place that any child would love to enjoy. Thanks to the Fundación Aladina, 125 Spanish kids and teens with cancer are able to go to Barretstown every summer, completely free of charge.

The most unique thing about this magical place is that all the attendees are children and teens battling serious illnesses such as cancer. Excellent on-site medical supervision means that they can enjoy the great outdoors to the fullest, just like any other kid would. Each year, 125 lucky Spanish children are selected from 25 public hospitals all over Spain to experience a wonderful week away from the hospital at no cost.

“Serious Fun” is Barretstown’s motto, and it couldn’t be more fitting. The young campers spend the week immersed in a magical world, sharing special moments and making unforgettable memories with friends from all over the world. Barretstown gives its lucky attendees the chance to escape reality, forget about their illnesses,  and regain their confidence and self-esteem – all while having a lot of fun. For their parents, this experience is even more rewarding, because they know they’re sending their children off on the trip of their dreams to have the time of their lives.

In 1988, Paul Newman founded the Serious Fun Children’s Network, which consists of 30 camps, including Barretstown. In 2007, he  invited Paco Arango, president and founder of the Fundación Aladina, to join the board of the Serious Fun Children’s Network, a position he continues to hold to this day.

Testimonials

  • “I met incredible people, did things that I never thought I’d be able to do, and most of all, I had...
    “I met incredible people, did things that I never thought I’d be able to do, and most of all, I had fun and enjoyed myself so much. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience something so positive and beneficial”
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    Patricia, cancer patient
  • “Barretstown has been a dream come true. It's been the most wonderful experience my daughter has ever...
    “Barretstown has been a dream come true. It's been the most wonderful experience my daughter has ever lived. It was truly an exceptional opportunity that allowed her to accept and understand her illness. We will never be able to thank you enough for your love, sacrifice, and dedication”
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    María, Sara's mother
  • “Barretstown is one of the best things that has happened to me. It was as if I could live everything...
    “Barretstown is one of the best things that has happened to me. It was as if I could live everything I couldn’t live for the last year and a half; it was such an intense and amazing experience. It was as if the people I met, were a reflection of myself. I am very happy I had this opportunity, it has left an impression on me and I really hope to go back. It is very special to say that I had a week I was on cloud nine. Thanks specially to the “caras” and the other campers who spent those 6 days with me”
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    Ángel A., camper in 2014
  • “Where to start... Barretstown is so many things. It’s the place where I’m 100% myself, where the...
    “Where to start... Barretstown is so many things. It’s the place where I’m 100% myself, where the best Blanca comes out and where kids feel the opportunity to be themselves, without limits or barriers, in a fun, supportive and family environment. Barretstown are faces full of happiness, dancing moments choking on my food, magical evenings at the cottage… And the most special and wonderful people I’ve ever met!”
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    Blanca Vazquez B.
  • “I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to volunteer at Barretstown. It’s a very special place...
    “I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to volunteer at Barretstown. It’s a very special place where children put aside their illness for a few days and enjoy the most each moment thanks to camp activities and to the unconditional dedication of all the staff. At Barretstown I had an amazing time, but I’ve also learned a lot. Kids that have been through so much at such a young age have taught me to value little things of daily life, to deal with the impossible, not to give up. As a volunteer I’ve seen how they gain self-confidence and recover the self-esteem that cancer had stripped away. I will definitely recommend Barretstown to everyone, I can’t wait to go back!”
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    Isabel Puente Mingo
  • “For me Barretstown marked a turning point. It was such a nice time that let me to meet fantastic people...
    “For me Barretstown marked a turning point. It was such a nice time that let me to meet fantastic people that also understand what I’ve been through and to whom I can talk openly. It’s so good... You all are part of my life, thank you so much for everything!! You really are superb, both the caras and all camp staff!!!”
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    Sergi Torres, camper in 2014
  • "My name is Amanda and I'm in remission, hopefully free of cancer forever. Thanks to the Fundación Aladina...
    "My name is Amanda and I'm in remission, hopefully free of cancer forever. Thanks to the Fundación Aladina I was able to go to Barretstown, a special camp where kids like me can forget about their illnesses and do everything we didn’t think we were capable of doing. Barretstown is the place where I felt like a normal teen, where there are no limits or impossibilities. It’s been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I would recommend a stay in Barretstown to any sick kid. If you have a chance, don’t hesitate, it will be an experience that will remain in your memory forever"
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    Amanda, camper 2014
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