Smile therapy for children with cancer
Helping seriously-ill Israeli children (secular and religious, Jew and Arab), their parents and siblings
MOST PEOPLE’S lives stretch into the distance. Most children can expect to grow up healthy and happy. But sadly that does not always hold true for the children of Zichron Menachem.
Zichron Menachem helps all Israeli children with cancer, secular and religious, Jew and Arab, as well as supporting their parents and siblings.
A conscientious team of young, trained volunteers gives these threatened children new purpose and energy, to make each day count. They keep the children entertained, either in the purposebuilt day centre in Jerusalem or in hospital or at home.
The day centre is abuzz with social, rehabilitative and educational activities, not only for the sick children but also for their families.
There are birthday parties, the chagim are celebrated and there are quiet corners where the children can rest or the parents receive support and help one another.
For a few days, our other kids had two full-time parents
Regular music lessons, sports events and art activities all help the children to cope with their illness. Then there are the day trips to adventure centres, the desert, police and army training bases and other exciting venues.
The British Friends of Zichron Menachem hosts and organises a summer camp every two years. Israeli volunteers, including doctors, nurses and an oncology specialist, technical staff and youth leaders all see to the children’s every need: social, emotional and medical. This year, they will be welcoming 130 campers as well as some local sick children.
However, it is not just the sick children who benefit when they are away. One parent said: “Our other children got two normal full-time parents back for a few days. We got to spend a night in our own beds.”
The dedicated band of British volunteers works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a great and healing time for all.
To date, the parents have enjoyed two respite trips in the UK, giving them time to recharge their batteries.
The UK volunteers assist with other fund-raising projects for the charity too, such as running a Hair Care campaign, bakeathons, marathons, fairs and fun runs.
All of the volunteers work without fuss to bring a smile to a sick child’s face.
ZM helpers entertain youngsters in hospital, at home or on summer camp