EVENTS

The wonderful Family Christmas Concert with AMCHOR and Davenies School Choir was enjoyed by a packed house.

NEWS

Twenty years of innovation and support from Friends of BCH. Read Daryl Ann's summary of achievements here.

FUNDRAISERS

The winning number in the December 100 Club draw is 22 and the prize is £43. Find out how to join here.

Children's Stories

Rising to the Challenge

natalia compressedHello, my name is Natalia and I would like to tell you our story.

I have a son who will be 13 years old in December. He was born with significant problems and at one year of age was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. It is impossible to put across what it does to a mother when a doctor says that your child will never amount to anything and that you should take the easy way out by putting him into a home and having another baby instead.

I could not even begin to contemplate following this advice and neither could my husband who at that time supported me and said we would manage somehow.

As the years went by, every day was a struggle with a myriad of problems and I could see no improvement in my special boy. He has severely increased muscle tone throughout his body which affects his ability to move. When he was little he cried all the time and it was impossible to soothe him even with medicine. I could not leave him alone for a single minute.

My husband started coming home late after work, having been drinking. When our son reached his fifth birthday, my husband announced, ‘It’s either me or the child!’. How could I possibly give up my son. I loved him and still do love him so much. It was absolutely out of the question for me to send him somewhere where his quality of life would be worse than the one I can provide. So that is why my boy’s daddy has not lived with us for the past eight years.

Children on the physiotherapy pilot programme

This little girl has made significant progress since joining our physiotherapy pilot programme cropped and compressedThis little girl has made significant progress since joining the physiotherapy programme at the Belarusian Children's Hospice.  The programme was devised by and is funded and overseen by Friends of BCH. Read about the project and how the children and their families have benefitted here.

A new home of our own

The happy result of Friends of BCH recommending BCH as a partner to Healthprom in 2015, is that the hospice received funding from DfID’s Child Rights programme. This is how it has benefited one family.

Sergey and Alyona photo cropped and compressedKirill and Lis live in a student dormitory in the city of Bobruisk. They have two children, a daughter Arina and Gleb, a younger son who is registered as profoundly disabled. It was proving impossible to carry on living in the cramped student accommodation. The young parents did the rounds of different hospitals with their son, one week at home and two weeks in intensive care, and sent their daughter to her grandparents. Lis said, ‘We used to see our daughter Arina only once every three months’.

Viktor's story

P1030924 cropped and compressed 2Vicki Hughes, a long-time supporter of Friends of BCH, travelled with trustees to Minsk for the opening of the new children’s palliative care centre, Forest Glade. She met a very special family and this is her account of the visit.

It is hard to imagine the thoughts and decisions facing a mother newly diagnosed with lymphoma, from a family already struggling with other cancers, who finds herself newly pregnant. Yuliya, this mother, had to make the decision to halt her own chemotherapy for the sake of her unborn baby. Yuliya’s baby, Viktor, was subsequently born with severe breathing difficulties, poor motor control of his limbs and likely mental impairments. With a new baby and 11 year old Dmitry to care for and little family or partner support, the Belarusian Children’s Hospice became a lifeline of care provision, understanding and education that enables the family to stay together at home.

Pavel's story

Artem Pilipenko 3 cropped and compressedPavel's parents wrote, 'The Belarusian Children's Hospice has given us a lot of support for our son Pavel over the last 10 years. He has a dedicated nurse and doctor and BCH provide him with medical supplies such as catheters, syringes, bandages, antiseptics and medicines. Our whole family enjoy social activities organised by BCH.

Pavel’s health has deteriorated in recent years but for the moment his condition is stable.

Thank you BCH.'

Lera's story

At the Belarusian Children's Hospice, the staff work tirelessly to make a sick child's all round quality of life as good as possible. This is the story of a special summer in the Tikhomirov family in the parents' own words.

Tikhomirov family compressed‘On 15th August our daughter Lera, who uses a wheelchair to get around, set off for the first time in her life to have a holiday away from home. Her destination was the Stork Summer Holiday and Recreation Centre in Zabrodie about an hour’s drive from Minsk. The Stork Centre is part of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice and is a purpose-built complex for children and families in their care. Every summer, groups of children have the opportunity to meet other children there and have lots of fun together in the sunshine and fresh air.

Sergei's Story

Sergei is one of four brothers who live together with both parents. He is very communicative and likes being with people. Sergei cannot be left alone as he gets upset and starts crying. He is at his happiest when he is on someone's lap or in their arms and this is how he spends much of his time when he comes to BCH for respite care. At home, Sergei likes watching his elder brother playing computer games, sometimes for several hours at a time. The whole family turns around Sergei and his needs.

Tatyana's Story

Tatyana comes from a one parent family. Despite being blind she knows who her mother and grandmother are and can tell when unknown or new people are talking to her. Tatyana reacts very well to the spoken word and shows her pleasure when she is praised. She learned to smile quite late but is now smiling more and more often and sometimes breaks into chuckles. She also smiles during tactile stimulation and loves having her hair brushed. Tatyana is 9 years old.

Yevgenia's Story

Yevgenia has just had her 5th birthday. When she was a young baby, she had an infection in her central nervous system and, shortly afterwards, viral influenza. Doctors diagnosed cerebral palsy and impaired cognitive function. At age 2, Yevgenia started to have epileptic fits and could no longer hold up her head, smile or recognise people.

Valeria Krepskaya's Story

At 10 months old, Valeria was diagnosed with encephalomeningitis. Surgery revealed a cancerous brain tumour which was removed but, sadly, Valeria’s brain had been damaged. Her father was unable to cope with his daughter’s illness and left the family. Valeria’s mother remarried and Valeria has a baby sister called Uliana.

Valeria's Story

Valeria was born in the Belarusian town of Slutsk. She was a healthy baby weighing in at 3.2 kg and for the first couple of years grew and developed normally. When she was 2, Valeria contracted a bad throat infection that led to complications and in May of that year she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.