Vicki Hughes, a long-time supporter of Friends of BCH, travelled with trustees to Minsk for the opening of the new children’s palliative care centre, Forest Glade. She met a very special family and this is her account of the visit.
It is hard to imagine the thoughts and decisions facing a mother newly diagnosed with lymphoma, from a family already struggling with other cancers, who finds herself newly pregnant. Yuliya, this mother, had to make the decision to halt her own chemotherapy for the sake of her unborn baby. Yuliya’s baby, Viktor, was subsequently born with severe breathing difficulties, poor motor control of his limbs and likely mental impairments. With a new baby and 11 year old Dmitry to care for and little family or partner support, the Belarusian Children’s Hospice became a lifeline of care provision, understanding and education that enables the family to stay together at home.