Newsletter 31 Romania Official Opening of Copaceni- a new respite and therapy centre for children We officially opened our new children’s respite and therapy centre in Copaceni near Bucharest on Friday 21st September 2018. Copaceni The Opening Ceremony HE Dan Mihalache, the Ambassador of Romania to the UK and the Israeli Ambassador to Romania attended the opening ceremony. Founder Graham Perolls, Nicholas Medworth Mills de Roumanie, Madame Nicole Florescu and Mirela Nemtanu, CEO of Hospice Casa Sperantei, all gave speeches of thanks. Prayers of dedication were said for the centre. Sister St John the Baptist (Yvonne Florescu) was one of the original donors and together with hospice patient Miruna, she cut the ribbon to mark the centre’s official opening. Sister St John the Baptist The Centre and Services The centre is unique in Romania. As well as offering respite care, it will offer therapies to children with rare or life-limiting illness such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. The team will also offer support to the children’s families – helping them with care management and issues such as benefits. Services will include a 12-bed respite unit, emergency accommodation for families facing homelessness and various forms of therapy including therapy through technology. In addition, Copaceni will house an educational centre, a day-care centre, a sensory room, a summer camp building and a family support centre. Children at the Opening Ceremony When fully operational respite care will be available for some 200 children a year. Two thousand outpatient and therapy sessions will be provided annually and approximately 300 children will enjoy a week’s relaxation and fun at Hospices of Hope’s summer camps. Our aim is for Copaceni to be recognised as a centre of excellence in paediatric palliative care. Guests at the Ceremony The Florescu Family Copaceni was the country estate of the Florescu family. It was confiscated by the Communist party and fell into disrepair. When it was returned to the family they decided to donate it to Hospice Casa Sperantei so that it could be renovated and used as a centre to help children and families. John and Radu Florescu said that the opening of Copaceni meant that “young Romanians who courageously live with illness will have a better life” and that their satisfaction with the finished project “was beyond words.” Craft therapy at Copaceni Thank you to Hospice Casa Sperantei Many of our supporters will know Dragos Bucurenci who has been our Master of Ceremonies at two of our Gala Dinners. Sadly his mother died at the end of last year. Dragos writes about the care his mother and his family received at Hospice Casa Sperantei. "On Saturday we said farewell to Mom and let her rest in peace near her father and her mother. We will mourn her for a long time and the longing will probably never subside, but our pain cannot make us forget how much we owe to Hospice Casa Sperantei. Myself, my sister and my father want to thank you for taking such good care of my mother during her final days with us. The wonderful people at Hospice Casa Sperantei, doctors, nurses and support staff alike, did their duty with kindness, gentleness and humanity, three qualities which have long been lost in the public medical system of Romania, a reality which we regretfully had to witness during the previous days my mother spent in a state hospital. Mirela and her colleagues made this difficult period infinitely more bearable for Mom and for us and allowed us to be truly there for her, instead of attending to absurd bureaucratic difficulties or bending our backs backwards to obtain her much needed pain medication. I have been close to the work of Hospice for many years, but until now I hadn’t fully grasped the difference it can make for the dying and for their relatives. My Mom died with dignity, knowing she was loved and well cared for, and we will never be grateful enough for what you did for her and for us." Dragos Members of the medical team, Hospice Casa Sperantei A Wife’s Story I was married to my beloved husband Sasu, for 60 years. He was an eye doctor who restored the sight of many of his patients. "He was devoted to his work and only retired when he was 84, one day before he was diagnosed with a Grade 4 brain tumour, which confined him to bed for the next three months. He read his diagnosis on his own and told me calmly that he did not want any treatment for the tumour and refused to undergo any surgery or chemotherapy. He comforted me during his illness. It was difficult for me to control my emotions and deal with reality. My daughter contacted Hospice Emanuel. The Hospice Team assured us from the very beginning that they were going to be at our side as we walked along the difficult path that lay ahead of us. On the basis of Sasu’s diagnosis the team responded promptly to our requests and was always there for us. They helped us in so many ways. All we could do for my husband was to ensure he did not feel alone. We were supported in this by the Hospice’s chaplain and medical team. Because my husband’s cancer was at such an advanced stage, treatment options were limited. But the team helped him maintain some quality of life and provided care with great professionalism, faith and respect for the sick. Sasu placed great trust in the hospice team and responded well to their visits and treatments for as long as his condition allowed. The Hospice dealt quickly with his needs when his health deteriorated and this made it easier for us to get through such a difficult time. On April 18, 2014 at one o’clock the Lord opened the heavens and called my husband’s soul to Him, leaving us in pain and mourning. My husband continues to live in the souls of everyone who truly loved him. I thank once again the Hospice Emanuel Foundation for all the attention paid to those who need their care and I pray for this organisation." Sasu was cared for by Hospice Emanuel in Oradea. As well as financial help we support Hospice Emanuel through training and grant applications.