Vale Hospice International, a 501(c)(3) foundation based in Vermont, is opening the first and only children�s hospice ward in Ukraine at the First Kiev Hospice.
In light of its mission, patients of all ages are referred to our Hospice. The Kiev Oncological Center treats 350 children a year aged from 0-18. Regrettably, despite the efforts of the doctors, the children themselves, and their families, medical care is not always successful. About 40 will be diagnosed with the fourth stage of cancer, when only palliative care is prescribed. In other words, these children will die. But neither the children, nor their parents, need to feel that they have been abandoned to their fate.
Unfortunately, it is the practice in Ukraine and Russia to release the terminally ill from the Oncological Center and send them home. This is acceptable for those families who can create the conditions necessary for living with a cancer patient at home. But dying children from rural or impoverished areas of Ukraine have a long and difficult trek home. The elementary needs for keeping the cancer child at home are lacking. The parents of the children are exhausted both physically and morally. Sick children make their way home with great difficulty, often having to travel many miles in trucks because their family cannot afford the rail fare.
The First Kiev Hospice was not originally designed for children, but because of the dire need, on January 28th we began to equip the first, and as of now only, children�s hospice ward in Ukraine. The first young residents of this new ward are already being admitted into the hospice.
It is vital that we create a special atmosphere for our children, one that is different from the drab, generic, colorless setting of a hospital. We have purchased furniture and equipment suitable for this special ward: comfortable chairs, cribs, child�s beds, a large and soft carpet, colorful pajamas, towels, bright bed sheets, and toys and games. Our little patients also require a special diet � they eat sparingly, and we should like to offer them fresh fruits, juices, natural ice cream, candy, really, whatever they might like. Very sick children are still children. They play, they dance, they sing, they draw, they laugh, and they fool around, while they still have the strength. Shortly, Vale expects to equip the ward with a computer, more toys, and rocking horses. If a child�s condition permits, we plan on taking the children to the zoo, on excursions, visiting those places they would like to see.
We are directly dependent on your support and assistance and are very grateful to those who have been helping us. In the first instance, we need to continue to underwrite medical support and relief of pain for these patients. Please help us!
President of VALE Hospice Foundation
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