Mom’s decision to quit job for daughter with tumour gains global online support
A mother who announced on social media she would quit her dream job with an environmental charity to care for her teenage daughter who had a tumour said yesterday she was stunned the post had been seen by almost three million people.
Katie Berry, who resigned as executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful earlier this month, said she had no idea the message on business networking site LinkedIn would attract so much interest.
She added: “It boggles the mind.”
Ms Berry said: “I never expected it to go viral and for millions of people around the world to see the post.
“Everyone has been so supportive.”
Ms Berry’s 15-year-old daughter Emilia Rose is now recovering after doctors in the US removed a brain tumour discovered last November.
Ms Berry, who joined KBB a year ago, decided to hand in her resignation because she wanted to devote all her time to Emilia, who had a rare frontal lobe glioma tumour.
She admitted in the LinkedIn post, which had been viewed more than 2.7 million times by yesterday and picked up 2,323 comments, that she was lucky she could quit her job to become a carer,
But Ms Berry wrote: “It was not the plan. I loved my job.
She added it was “not lost on me that we are so lucky that I can”.
Ms Berry said: “There are so many parents in the brain tumour club that do not have my privilege.
“They balance their jobs whilst on the terrible roller coaster of childhood cancer and the side effects of surgery and treatment.
“It is not for the faint hearted.”
Ms Berry told the charity: “I gave it my all and am so thankful to all of you who became supporters, donors and volunteers. KBB still needs you.”
She added that her new role would be “the most challenging of my life”.
Ms Berry, who had volunteered at KBB since she was a child, took over at the helm of KBB in January 2021 when Anne Hyde stepped down from the job.
She told The Royal Gazette that Emilia’s tumour was removed at Boston Children’s Hospital on November 22.
She is still with her daughter in the US as the family look for a suitable rehabilitation centre.
Ms Berry said: “The neurosurgical team at Boston Children’s did an amazing job and you really cannot see the 12in scar in her hairline.
“However, the medical profession the world over is stretched and exhausted and Emilia’s situation is rare, which I am learning is not a good thing.”
Ms Berry said a medical team would have to draw up a plan to help rebuild neural pathways damaged by the tumour and operation.
She added: “While the threat of regrowth is always there, rehabilitation is our focus now.
“It became obvious around Christmas that Emilia needed to be my focus and that I could no longer give KBB my all.
“I am passionate about the work of Keep Bermuda Beautiful and wanted the momentum I built this past year to continue, but I knew it needed a new team to take it on.”
Ms Berry added that she was proud of her time at KBB.
She highlighted the charity’s partnership with the Beyond Plastic Campaign and the recent collaboration with the Government on the abandoned and derelict boat removal scheme as “the two things which I hope will be the legacy of my time as executive director, along with restoring donor confidence and inspiring a new tribe of volunteers”.
Ms Berry said her husband James is on the island with their two younger children and another teenage daughter is at school in the UK.
Ms Berry added: “It is not an easy scenario navigating three countries, and so I think Emilia and I will head to London at some stage soon.”
She thanked online support groups for their help – and island doctors Richard Fulton, Emilia’s paediatrician, and Peter Yates, the director of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s child and adolescent services.
Ms Berry said: “It is a pretty small club to belong to, so you get to know the other kids and it makes this journey feel a little less lonely.
“However, it is noticeable that there are not many kids or teens with the type of tumour Emilia had in the part of the brain hers was.
“This makes it harder to know what the right course of action is.”
Ms Berry said her LinkedIn post had been “the easiest way to control the Bermuda rumour mill”.
She said her aim was to “let all the wonderful people who joined me on cleanups and donors who have supported the projects I have been working on to know about my resignation”.
Ms Berry added: ““I am not sure when Emilia and I will next be at home.
“But Bermuda will always be home, no matter where this journey to health and wellness takes us.”