Deb Hunt, trustee and retired physiotherapist, wrote this report after her recent visit to BCH with Pam Parker, volunteer and children’s palliative physiotherapist.
‘Our second visit to BCH was a short one – two days only. The programme was focused on reviewing the progress of children on the project and seating. Two new chairs, supplied by Friends of BCH following a successful fundraising campaign, had arrived just before we did. We also took over with us four switch toys. These are battery-operated action toys fitted with special pads which, when pressed, activate them. They are excellent for children with special needs whose manual skills are limited.
We are sorry to announce the death on 22nd May 2017 of Anton Simon, a true Friend of the Belarusian Children's Hospice.
In 2013 and 2014, at the age of 60 and 61, Anton put himself through exhausting training in London in order to complete triathlons, in Minsk, in aid of the Belarusian Children's Hospice. He raised a huge amount in sponsorship from generous friends, family and colleagues and donated a self-funded film about the triathlon and the Hospice.
Generous with advice to the BCH Advisory Council and a generous personal sponsor, Anton and his sparkling humour will be much missed by everyone at BCH and Friends of BCH (UK).
Anton with HMA Bruce Bucknell
Friends of BCH is undertaking a major long term project setting up and funding a ‘new to Belarus’ children’s physiotherapy service which will be available at Forest Glade and to children in their own homes.
Unfortunately the Belarusian medical establishment takes the view that children with complex neurological disabilities such as those cared for by BCH cannot be ‘cured’ and so have no potential for improvement. The state, therefore, only provides the most basic treatment. This is incomprehensible to us. In the UK and other western countries, these children would be treated by an integrated multi disciplinary team of different therapists who would identify their particular problems and work with them and their families to achieve their maximum physical and intellectual potential as well as improve their quality of life.
BCH and Forest Glade’s approach is in marked contrast to this and such children will receive all appropriate care to help improve their quality of life and assist them achieve their potential. Physiotherapy, as we understand it in the UK, is not a recognised profession in Belarus so we have coined a new term for this type of therapy: abilitation. Our project will assist, support and fund the development of an appropriate abilitation service to BCH children who would benefit.
Vitaly Markovski is a volunteer at BCH's summer camp. In this film, he talks about what it means to him and how life-limited children and young people can have a fun summer holiday at BCH's specially adpted site in the countryside. The weather is usually much better than in the film but the rain does not seem to dampen anyone's spirits. On the site in the village of Zabrodie, there is accommodation for children, families and volunteers. It is, in most cases, the only opportunity for BCH children and families to have a holiday. For those who live in blocks of flats, often without a lift, it is liberating to be out in the fresh air and to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Many friendships are forged and children look forward all year to returning in the summer.