Childhood is the most beautiful period of one’s life – this is a well-known truth. Every person has the right to enjoy his childhood – to play, to laugh, to run, to ask, to learn… The majority of us remember our childhood with a nostalgic smile on our faces and with the thought “Oh! How good it was!” But there are children who become adults too soon. Their childhood is spent in hospitals, with constant investigations, injections, bitter tastes in their mouths because of medicines, without hair because of aggressive medications, with bruised eyes and pale cheeks. These children cannot go out to play or run and their friends are actually the fellow patients from their hospital ward. These children all have cancer. Of course, medicine is advancing every day, but the cancer is advancing as well. It seems to be a competition between the new medical achievements and the disease.
Hospice “Angelus” chose to support those families and children where the chances to survive are minimal. When the doctors feel powerless in front of the disease and they tell to the family they cannot do anything to help the patient, the Hospice team intervenes.
I have worked at Hospice “Angelus” for exactly one year. From the first days that I visited the ward, where the children with cancer spent their childhood, I will never forget their eyes, their look - they are too mature for their age.
Vladutsa comes from a poor family and she lives with her mom and grand-mother in a suburb of Chisinau. She is their only child and is loved very much. She is only 4 years old but three years ago she was diagnosed with a malignant tumour. Because of her tumour both of her eyes were removed. She underwent various operations, radio-therapy, chemotherapy, but the disease is still advancing. It is now terminal and Vladutsa has metastases in other organs.
The hospice team found out about the suffering of Vladutsa and immediately helped. The paediatric home-based hospice team succeeded to administer the right medication to avoid pain and other symptoms, the social assistant helped solve the social problems that the family had. The social assistant provided basic food products for the family, household products, toys, and even managed to integrate the child into a special kindergarten (she wanted so much to play with other children!).
We found out that Vladutsa had a dream. She wanted a doll which could sing. Vladutsa is not able to see, but she can hear and touch. We made an appeal on a social network for her dream and it was amazing how many people responded! The same day Vladutsa had 4 singing dolls, several days later we collected more soft toys and many other goods. The impact was really great and it was motivating for our team to see how many people are ready to support us in what we do.
When I saw Vladutsa at our centre I totally fell in love with her - she is so cute, lovely; she was singing and reading poetry to everybody! And then she was crying because she didn’t want to leave us. Yes, she had tears coming out from the eyelids that will never open again...
I am sad to know that she has very little time left to live. I am happy to know that my contribution is improving her end of life. I am proud to work in a team which is making the last days of these children so much easier. I am optimistic to know that so many people support our work and initiatives. I am inspired by the joy and love of life of our patients. I am motivated by their dreams and wishes. I am a Hospice “Angelus” team member.
Published in "Spring stories from Hospices of Hope" (click here)