Parents of Leeds girl who died from brain tumour create charity to send families on mini holidays

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The parents of a young girl who tragically died from a brain tumour in 2019 are launching a new charity offering breaks and holidays to families of those with similar illnesses.

Is Mise Cara, which is Irish for “I am Cara”, is a new brain disease foundation set up by Dr Kieran and Faye Mervyn, in memory of their daughter Cara Mia, who died aged 11 in 2019 after battling a brainstem tumour.

Cara was born 11 weeks early in 2008, and went through a number of years of ill health and numerous operations. In 2018 she was tragically diagnosed with a brainstem tumour.

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Dr Kieran told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We were told that she might have many years because it was a low grade tumour on her brainstem, but we found her dead on the 29th of December, a year and a half later.”

Cara was diagnosed with a brainstem tumour in 2018. Picture by Kieran MervynCara was diagnosed with a brainstem tumour in 2018. Picture by Kieran Mervyn
Cara was diagnosed with a brainstem tumour in 2018. Picture by Kieran Mervyn | Kieran Mervyn

After losing their beloved daughter, Dr Kieran, 48 and Faye, 46, of Cookridge, said they wanted to help families going through what they had, and decided to set up a charity.

Dr Kieran said: “Because we spent 11 years in and out of hospital all the time and we observed that any type of illness, not just a brain tumour, affects the whole family - you can't work, you can't earn a living, and you can’t get a break. 

“Looking back, we managed to take Cara away on several holidays, throughout her ill health. So we thought: 'if we can do one thing, it’s to give the whole family a holiday - some respite.”

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With plans to acquire a holiday home in Spain, the Is Mise Cara Foundation aims to pay for flights and accommodation for families. In the future, they’re also hoping to acquire holiday homes in London and York to send families to.

Cara died aged 11 in 2019. Picture by Kieran MervynCara died aged 11 in 2019. Picture by Kieran Mervyn
Cara died aged 11 in 2019. Picture by Kieran Mervyn | Kieran Mervyn

Dr Kieran added: “When Cara was diagnosed with the brain tumour, she ended up getting very, very depressed, so her mental health was deeply affected. And we recognised people around her were becoming really down and scared. So rather than calling it a brain tumour charity, ours is a brain disease charity, so young people’s mental health issues can be included in that space.”

To mark the official launch the charity is hosting a launch dinner at Aamen’s Restaurant in Horsforth on November 25. The dinner has seen a number of sponsorships and donations from businesses and partners, both local and, in one case, from a mindfulness hotel in Lanzarote.

The launch dinner will include a three course meal, raffles and presentations by sponsors, partners and people involved in the foundation. Tickets are £45 per person or £80 per couple and can be found here.

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