EVENTS

Three peaks were successfully ascended by our brave mountaineers in both good and awful conditions. See more here.

NEWS

Deb and Pam visited BCH again to advise on the physio project. Watch how a special chair transformed a little boy's life here.

FUNDRAISERS

Drum roll! You will find the winning number of this month's bonanza prize 100 Club draw here.

News - Milestones

Physiotherapy Project - Stage one

Nikita 1 cropped and compressedFriends 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.

Second Belarusian award for Daryl Ann Hardman

The Belarusian ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Sergei Aleinik, presented Friends of BCH chairwoman Daryl Ann Hardman with a Certificate of Honour from the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus signed by V A Vashchenko, Minister for Emergency Situations. The citation reads:

Certificate of Honour awarded to Ms Daryl Ann Hardman, Chairwoman of ‘Friends of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (UK)’, for significant contribution to the recovery and sustainable development of the territories of the Republic of Belarus which suffered from the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

Congratulations to Daryl Ann.  This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the disaster at Chernobyl.

Daryl Ann received the prestigious Order of Frantsysk Skaryna in 2012. Report and pictures here.

Official opening of Forest Glade, the new Belarusian children’s palliative care centre

DSCF8358 cropped and compressedThe vision of a purpose-built, world class children’s palliative care centre in Belarus has been realised. To mark the opening of this fabulous new building, a red ribbon was cut by the Belarusian First Deputy Minister for Health Dmitry Pinevich and the Deputy Chair of the BCH Advisory Council Olga Kobyakova.S0258496 cropped and compressed

The facilities at Forest Glade are, by any standards, impressive and will be a centre of excellence from where BCH can support the growing number of children and families who need their services and facilitate the on-going training of health professions in the western model of children’s palliative care.

Forest Glade is on the outskirts of Minsk in a tranquil setting surrounded on three sides by woodland. The horse-shoe shaped building is welcoming, spacious, colourful and flooded with light. BCH’s main programme will continue to be Hospice at Home co-ordinated from the new building and there is a day-centre there where children, their carers and their well brothers and sisters can socialise and enjoy regular activities organised by hospice staff. There are treatment rooms where physiotherapy will be available and a wonderful multi-sensory room with changing lights, coloured fibre optic strands cascading over beanbags, different tactile experiences and mirrors. Take a peek here. The ten in-patient rooms which will provide respite care and end of life care are spacious, well equipped with medical services and aids, have en-suite wet rooms and direct, easy access to the gardens which all these rooms overlook through large floor to ceiling windows. There is also accommodation for parents/carers who wish to stay with their child.

Thirty Years After Chernobyl: BCH estimates three to five thousand children in Belarus are in need of palliative care

ksenia croppped and compressedThe Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) is 22 years old. Set up in response to ongoing problems following the Chernobyl disaster, it is creating a modern, unified system of children’s palliative care throughout Belarus based on the UK model of hospice care at home.

BCH cares for patients from 0 to 24 years of age with chronic and terminal conditions. Head doctor, Pavel Burykin, says that there is no single recognised method for counting the number of children that need palliative care. However, BCH has been creating its own register of such children in Belarus using its own methods that have taken into account UK and Polish experience. The register not only records numbers of children, but details of their care and care providers. The aim is to ensure that every single child and their family in Belarus who are in need of palliative care receive it.

‘We estimate that there are three to five thousand children in the country who need palliative care,’ says Dr Burykin.

Building the new Belarusian Children's Palliative Care Centre

Progess on the new Belarusian children's palliative care centre in Minsk has been coming on a pace. The main building has almost been completed. All the external utilities are in place, the roof is being finished off, the internal walls are built and the internal utilities have been installed. Elsewhere on the site, the electricity substation has been completed and the boiler house is well on the way to being finished. At the beginning of the year, there was snow on the ground but the winter was realtively mild and building did not have to halt because of bad weather as expected. See how the building grew as the weather improved through the year in this series of pictures.

BCH fundraising ball in Minsk

On 29th November, 120 paying guests gathered in Minsk's newest hotel, the Beijing, for one of Belarus' first charity balls in the modern era.

The history of balls in the Russian speaking countries, said director of BCH Anna Garchakova in her introductory speech, tells us that there were two types: private balls, like the one Natasha Rostova dances at in the film of War and Peace, to which guests were invited at the expense of the ball's host and public balls for which there was fierce competition to buy tickets as they were often held in the most glittering and exclusive of venues.

The habit of holding balls died out in the austere Soviet years and is only now starting to be resurrected in Belarus. Thanks to the director of the Beijing Hotel, the ballroom and staff were provided free of charge. The ticket income more than covered the cost of the wonderful dinner and the entertainment. This amount raised was further augmented by an auction to which a local artist donated no fewer than 10 of her works and by a raffle with prizes brought all the way from London.

The final total raised, at time of writing, is somewhat over USD 30,000. A fantastic result for the Belarusian Children's Hospice. Well done Elena Anisimava and her team!

HE Mr Vasily Markovich, Czech ambassador to Belarus, HE Mr Bruce Bucknell, UK ambassador to Belarus, and Elena Anisimava at the ball

6th International Palliative Care Conference

The 6th International Conference on Children’s Palliative Care in Countries of Eastern and Central Europe to be organised by the Belarusian Children’s Hospice took place at the IBB Conference Centre in Minsk in November. There were 200 delegates from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, UK, USA, India, South Africa and Serbia and two and a half days of presentations, workshops and networking.

Among the host of high profile speakers were Dr Ludmila Lyogkaya of the Belarusian Ministry of Health, Anna Garchakova founder and director of BCH, Joan Marston CEO International Children’s Palliative Care Network, Dr StefanFriedrichsdorf Minnesota Children’s Hospice, Peter Ellis CEO Richard House Hospice UK and Mary Muckaden founder of children’s palliative care in the community in India. Friends of BCH chairwoman, Daryl Ann Hardman, gave a keynote speech on the importance to a children’s hospice in Eastern Europe of having a dedicated supporting organisation in the UK. This encouraged discussion and it was decided to form an Association of Eastern and Central European Children’s Hospices. This organisation will act as an information provider and support organisation for children’s hospices and palliative care services in ‘Eastern’ Europe and former USSR countries.

Dr Stefan Friedrichsdorf

A Sporting First

The first ever charity ‘Triathlon Light’ to be undertaken in Belarus was completed by Anton Simon and raised almost £11,000 to support the work done by the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) to care for terminally-ill children and their families. The demanding course was a 1km swim followed by a 30km bike ride and a 10km run.

Having successfully completed the Asics British 10k London Run in 2011, raising nearly £3k for Friends of BCH, Anton set himself a harder challenge to benefit the hospice.  He decided that this should take place in Belarus itself, a country he has known for many years.

Prestigious Award For Daryl Ann Hardman

Congratulations to Daryl Ann Hardman, chairwoman of Friends of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice, who has been awarded the Order of Frantsysk Skaryna in recognition of her personal contribution to humanitarian and charitable activities in Belarus. The Order is the country’s highest government award and was granted by the President of Belarus. Previous recipients include a Nobel Prize winner and leaders in the fields of politics, culture and humanitarian endeavours.

Tamara's Visit To The UK

I’ve been working at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice in Minsk as a fundraiser since April 2010. A little while ago I had a great opportunity to visit London for a study tour at Richard House Hospice (RHH) aimed at getting me acquainted with the work of RHH and learning more about fundraising. RHH is twinned with BCH.

Kate Adie Visits The Hospice

kate-4sBBC correspondent Kate Adie, patron of Friends of the Belarusian Children's Hospice (UK) visits the Hospice