01 JULY 2011

Our troops in Ireland

This year, 25 children who had previously received help from Gift of Life foundation visited Barretstown, an international rehabilitation camp in Ireland.

The children included Misha Sogomonyan, Masha Krakhina, Serezha Svyatkin, Nastya Radenko, Lida Shulgina, Misha Mamaev, Galya Bolshova, Nikita Merkulov, Madina Khashagulgova, Mariam Rizaeva. Sponsors, volunteers, and blood donors of the Gift of Life foundation had helped pay for their treatment, donated blood for them and visited them at the hospital. These children have recovered. They have changed a lot. Now they are good-looking and fashionably dressed adolescents and many of them are simply unrecognisable.

Looking at these children, it is hard to imagine how much they had to endure during their illness: fear, pain and other ordeals. However, the illness is a reality of their past which also affects their present. And they must learn to live with this.

Barretstown is located near Dublinin Ireland. Children from all over the world who have recovered from cancer and blood diseases can join the rehabilitation program for free. The main idea of the camp is to return the feeling of childhood to the ill children, to make them believe that life goes on.

25 teenagers from 14 to 18 who had undergone their treatment in Moscowsome time ago became campers this June. They spent 10 days there, without their parents, without mobile phones. For 10 days they just took pleasure in cooking pizza, canoeing, horse riding, climbing high ropes, and, which is most important of all, spending time with each other and with other children from all over the world.

It is a great joy to see healthy and happy children. Our patients receive their treatment at the hospital, then leave, and other children come in their place. We usually work for the children who are suffering now. And so this is a rare chance to stop, look around and see that the kids who needed help yesterday have now grown into successful, smart, and beautiful people. The visit to Barretstown was a miracle for all of us, not just for the children.