Tuesday, February 21, 2012

POSITIVE EXPERIENCES


Since the start of January, we’ve had a lot of positive things happening at the hospice. The first is a partnership with an organisation called OM which has generously been supplying us with food packages to deliver to some of our poorest patients. I had the pleasure of visiting one of our younger patients, a 14 year old girl who is suffering with metastatic cancer and is tragically likely to lose her leg. It never ceases to amaze me the positivity that radiates from some of our patients. With a beautiful smile and a positive outlook on life, this young girl talked about what she missed about school as she is unable to attend now that she is sick. Sadly, because she has to stay at home, her mother no longer works and thus their income is limited. Indeed, they owe about £200 for their heating bill. The average salary in Moldova is around £150 per month so this amount is an astronomical amount for a family on benefits. Furthermore, and sickeningly, their landlord has said that they also owe around 20,000 euros in rent and if they do not pay this, they will be evicted. Another example of the exploitation of Moldova’s poverty-stricken by the terminally corrupt who seem to still have such a huge presence and influence in this country. We are grateful to OM for their assistance in providing these packages to our families.

One of our food packages donated by OM

As part of the fundraising team at Hospice Angelus, it can sometimes be very easy to forget why we are doing the things we do so these visits are necessary to remind us of the importance of raising awareness and funds to support palliative care in Moldova. Meeting the beneficiaries of our work and seeing the fruits of our labour is the most humbling part of working for Angelus. This past week, I had the privilege of visiting another of our patients for her birthday. A small team of hospice workers arrived to see another smiling and positive young woman beaming to see our director arrive with cake and flowers to celebrate this special day. Surrounded by friends and loved ones, it was an honour to share even a small part of this day with her. An English speaker, it was a rare opportunity for me to speak to one of our patients in my native tongue and to hear first-hand about the trials and tribulations of being a cancer sufferer in Moldova. It’s always great to hear about the differences that our medical team can make to the life of someone with cancer and to hear about what life might be like without the care that we provide makes us realise how important it is to continue the work that we do. And it's always mind-blowing to see the smiles behind the stories. 

Holes in the windows in a Moldovan apartment block make it very difficult to keep buildings warm


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