Interview with the new ED of HofH - Alex Padureanu In November 2017 Alex was appointed Executive Director of Hospices of Hope, making him only the second Executive Director of the organisation since it was established. He was CEO of our country partner, Hospice Casa Sperantei, before moving to the UK to run Hospices of Hope UK, US and Moldova. He and his family have settled into Kent where the charity is based and Alex is constantly involved in promoting the organisation's work and mission, travelling to our partner countries and implementing new projects to improve patient services. - Alex with the Serbian Flag after completing the LA Marathon Q: What does charity mean to you? I prefer "social responsibility" or "involvement" to "charity". As an individual you can choose to be charitable adn that is a personal choice, but society needs to be responsible as a whole. I prefer "responsibility" because it empowers and makes all parties (the ones supporting social causes, the ones receiving the help or the ones implementing the care) aware of the importance of this activity. Everyone involved in the charity sector must assess needs and available resources and come up with sustainable solutions. It's probably why the word "sustainability" is so often used in the context, so RESPONSIBILTY-SUSTAINABILITY, this is what charity represents to me. Q: How did you become involved with Hospices of Hope? My first actual encounter with Hospices of Hope was throught Hospice Casa Sperantei in Romania and is not what people would expect. I was the event organiser of a fashion show! I became involved in charity work by chance. I started as a volunteer after visiting an awful, shocking facility for abandoned disabled people, located West of Bucharest, Romania. Once you see such a thing you simply cannot "unsee" it. What used to be something at the periphery of my conciousness becomes a reality that I had to face and I think I reacted as most people would, by getting involved. Q: What is your vision for Hospices of Hope? I believe in efficiency and for me, an efficient organisation is an adaptable one, with a wide vision. As part of a charity organisation, you have a duty, you are RESPONSIBLE, in front of the people who entrusted you with their donated money, donated time, in-kind donations, etc to do everything in your power to make the most of it. So Hospices of Hope needs to be an organisation that permanently challenges itself. So my vision is of a "restless" organisation, looking for answers and solutions, representing donors/supporters and beneficiaries and constantly pushing projects and adapting as the world evolves. Q: What projects is Hospices of Hope currently focused on? While continuing to support the services offered by our country partners we are introducing new care models. In Romania we have Copaceni, our unique centre for children with rare or life-limiting conditions which helps both children and their families. In Moldova we are establishing a national network for palliative care. This is an entirely new model for us. We are supporting small hospices that are struggling to survive with the view to ultimately providing national coverage. In addition we are working towards the first hospice centre in Serbia and introducing technology and applied technical solutions (if the technology it's out there and can help we have the responsibility to try and make it available). Q: Part of your new role is as CEO of Hospices of Hope US - tell us something about HOHUS? We established our sister charity in the US in 2000. Our US work is led by Dr Ronna McHammond who volunteers her time to us. We are focussing on innovation in the US - solutions that are not geographically limited. Thanks to support from the US (and elsewhere) we have started to introduce technical projects such as virtual reality at our hospices. By piloting such projects we are hopefully showing what can be achieved on a much larger scale - not simply in the countries where we work. One of the most important components of our activity in the US has been, from the beginning, the transfer of knowhow to teh countries where we operate - good practice, empowering nurses etc. It all started with a project with the Rhode Island and Boston University. At the moment we are using the skills, experience and knowledge of organisations like Cedars Sinai in LA, Stanford University or Mott Hospital in Michigan which are pioneering and piloting the usage of technology in therapy. So I have spent some time researching work done by these organisations, which means looking and learning from the best of the best and trying to figure out how we can apply this know-how in the services we provide. Q: What is the greatest lession you have learned after working in the charity sector for so many years? I am always humbled by the generosity of our supporters. The kindness of people donating to help others thousands of miles away is amazing to me. And on a more practical level - don't take normality for granted. Every "normal" day is a gift, a day in which it is up to you what you do with it. If it's not up to you anymore, in that case it is not a "normal" day anymore. Q: Why should people get involved? People should get involved mainly because it gives back. It happened to me as a volunteer. Of course we are not talking about a financial "pay". You get something out of it, you learn, it helps you evaluate your own life and priorities. You get more out of it than you are actually offering. But I think everyone needs to find their own way of getting involved, their own cause, on their own terms. And they will see, it's a blessing.