Through this post I want to share my experience in a very special place I was glad and blessed to be at. In 2017 I had the chance to work as volunteer in a local Childrens Cancer Foundation here in my city, it's called Fundanica. This organization hosts children who have cancer that unfortunately their families don't have money enough to take care of their own medical bills and some of them don't even have apppropiate home spaces to stay in order to deal with this disease. During my communitive service, me and friends found this place and decided to ask if we were able to spend a few weeks there as volunteers, they said it was ok and we started from the beggining trying to understand and connect with this place we hadn't been at. After a few days that the relation between the whole organization and us got stronger we began to trully taking care of children, helping in some of the things they needed as collect money with events or activities so they could affort the medical bills and food at that time and other things to estimulate all the people we could.
When we were there I met incredible and amazing children that were really brave, despite all the reality and bad moments these kids were into, they really tried to have fun and enjoy every single minute they had there. Sadly, I wasn't able to take pictures with them at least that their parents were there because of the rules of this organization in order to protect children, which are understandable. One day, I met this boy that was really cool, he loved to play spiderman in an old N64 they have in the living room and of course Spiderman was his favorite hero. So, I told him that I could watch him play and he was like so excited and happy about it, it was really great, take a look.
After a couple weeks there with my friends we decided to make something nice for these people and patients. We did plan a fire drill with real firemen and after that we were going to give some snacks and food. What we didn't expect and It was something really hardbreaking for everyone and specially for us because we hadn't had experience something like this before and some of my friends have children so these situations were worst for them than for us, but to be honest I think it's hard for anyone; One of the patients passed away that morning in a nearly hospital he was taken to and we didn't know what to do, our first reaction was to cancel everything and stay close to the children and wait for our superior to tell us what to do. Of course, she was destroyed and It was something that she is never going to get used to, after taking care of everythin she had to, she still told us that we had to continue with the activity because children cannot know about what happened right now, they had to know this when things calm down otherwise It could be harder for them to heal, besides she told us that the firemen stuff was something that nobody had done before and could be nice for the kids.
After a few hours of calmind down ourselves and trying to think positive at least for this next 2 hours, we decided to call the fire-station to start with the activity we had. Basically, we turned on the fire alarm of the place and started to evacuate parents and patients for their rooms while we were making a lot of noise and screaming all over the place, it was crazy, but so nice, children were actually enjoying it once they realized it was just a drill. We followed all the rules, opening the exit doors, firemen did actually burn some stuff (Out of the place, in the parking lot) (Far away of the children and the organization, so it was safe for everybody) and finally we all met at the meeting point to see the firemen putting out the fire.
At the end of the day (It was also the last day of the volunteering program), we shared and stayed even closer to everyone than before and even-though bad things happened, somehow these people have learned to stay positive as much as they can always keeping in mind that there's time for everything and you have to move forward because this is not an easy path. I personally learned a lot, too. Since the first day it was a new experience for me and I knew that it wouldn't be as calm as I thought it would be. Tears, pain and many other feelings were always there for every of the people but also happiness, smiles and a lot of courage from all the families there.
Thank you for reading!
Here are some photos of that day:
Some of the children were here with us and the firemen
Painting for "hurt people" that later were rescued with first aid.