At the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Minsk last November, Christmas came early for the patients and staff as two members of Chernobyl Children Life Line Pinxton and East Derbyshire Link visited Belarus to present to the hospital some sensory lighting for use with the children suffering from cancer. The sensitive lighting were part of a consignment of sensory equipment purchased from ROMPA at Chesterfield who also donated some items in support of the charities efforts.
The hospital in Minsk is very different to those here in the UK. It can be a very dull, unhappy place for the children receiving treatment there, with the most basic of facilities. From what was seen, and feedback from an earlier visit our link decided that it would be a wonderful gesture if we could provide some sensory equipment for use in the ward to brighten it up and create a more relaxed and happy environment for the children and their families. Richard our link chairman and Tony vice chairman and host family member took over these lights and delivered them to the hospital where they were extremely gratefully received! Below are some quotes from a letter written to Richard from Elena the child psychologist at the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Minsk. I think it says it all really.
Dear Richard and friends,
Thank you very much for your visit and for all these wonderful presents! As you remember the girls, who came to the cabinet to meet you, asked me to give them the Laser Sphere Projector to their ward. They were so happy and pleased the next morning! They were full of emotions! They said that it was a magic and beautiful thing; they had never seen such a marvellous thing before. Even those in the ward, who wanted to sleep, were trying not to fall asleep and got pleasure from the projector. In the morning they again switched on the projector and got wonderful emotions to start the day. There were so many happy faces, the children’s and their mums’!
To be honest with you, morning is not a good time for our patients, as many of them don’t feel well and some of them have to go on unpleasant treatment, very often the mood of our patients isn’t positive at all. But that morning when I entered the ward I met all of them full of life and vigour, especially when I allowed them to leave this thing for the whole week, as they thought they would have to return it in the morning, as it belongs to the hospital. Moreover, I was really shocked by one of the big girl. It’s not a secret to everyone that hospital is a dull place like prison, where nobody wants to go or to stay, especially our place, it’s a difficult place to be.
One of the older girls, who was from that ward, when she knew that “a magician thing’ was going to stay for the whole week in their ward, she said: “ it’s a pity that I go home, as I wouldn’t have a chance to see this beautiful thing, but I will stay for more than one day!” I have never had this before that children feel sorry that they are going home and they want to stay in hospital! Even a very good concert never left so many emotions in children’s minds. Can you imagine how much happiness the projector brought to the children, as they want to stay! Thank you very much again for this!
You have left now, but the memories of your visit are still here with us. Today we had a talk with the elder girls about your visit with Tony. We were talking about such wonderful people as you, who have BIG HEARTS, who are able to open these big hearts to other people, who suffer greatly and who have problems. People who have had their own difficulties and problems in life, hasn’t become indifferent, more over their hearts are so huge, that they gave a place there for the children from another part of the world, – from Belarus. Their hearts are as strong as they were able to make the children’s sufferings into happiness and pleasure, being with these people.
Thank you for helping my patients to come through their sufferings and get hope and happiness!
Psychologist of the Children’s Cancer Hospital Minsk ( Belarus)
This is why the members of our link do what we do, and every year open our hearts and homes to host the unfortunate child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster who live in Belarus. Hosting is for four weeks during the summer and offer a life changing opportunity to the children who are still suffering the aftermath of the horrific Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But with the problems of Belarus and Chernobyl put aside the children can enjoy themselves while receiving a much needed recuperative break. The link usually brings a group of around 18 – 20 consisting of children and their leader to the UK who stay with host families in and around our area. Breathing our clean uncontaminated air and eating our fresh clean nutritious food boosts the children`s immune systems which can last up to 2 years, hopefully adding to their life expectancy and offering some hope in their difficult lives. This is further enhanced with the provision of a two years supply of multi vitamins for each child on their return home to complement their poor diet at home.
It`s a truly wonderful life changing experience for everyone involved. My children and I host every year and we all absolutely love it. We all enjoy the day trips and visits to numerous places around our area, with everyone getting involved and having fun. The children both English and Belarussian mix well forming strong bonds and becoming firm friends…many even referring to each other as “Belarusian or English brothers and sisters”. It is such a rewarding and enjoyable experience and the children will take home with them hope and memories which will last a lifetime.
If you would like to know more about our charity and the work of the Chernobyl Children Life Line, would like to offer your help, offer support either by donating towards the cost of bringing the children to the UK or you are interested in hosting one of these wonderful but less fortunate children then please get in touch. You really can make a difference to a child’s life.
Richard A Street (Chairman)
Chernobyl Children Life Line (Pinxton and East Derbyshire Link)
91 Wharf Road, Pinxton,
Tel: 01773 810712/07816 913787