Friends of BCH chairwoman, Daryl Ann Hardman, was in Minsk for a conference on children’s palliative care and wrote this account about the wonderful day out enjoyed by sick children and their parents.
BCH Anastasia and family at zoo compressed‘On 1 June 2015, Belarus celebrated the 90th anniversary of International Children’s Day. For a few days, the country’s parks, cinemas, sports grounds and other recreational facilities were full of children enjoying special activities with their parents in tow. It was very festive and colourful with music, balloons and brightly dressed children.
The Belarusian Children’s Hospice organised several celebrations for this special day and broke its own record for the number of people at a single event. Minsk Zoo and Dolphinarium donated 237 free tickets which meant that a mass of excited children of all ages in wheelchairs, buggies or their parents’ arms enjoyed a grand day out. The excitement was huge. Picnic spots around the zoo were peopled with groups of parents feeding their children pureed food by spoon or through gastrostoma and giving them drinks using special bottles or beakers. Those able to eat normally enjoyed ice cream and candy floss. Parents I spoke to felt ‘liberated’ and were counting the days until the next BCH event. It underlines how tremendously important BCH is in their lives, giving them and their disabled children a level of dignity and normality that they still do not experience in their everyday lives.’