HOSPICE Casa Sperantei opened Romania’s first respite and therapy center for children living with rare or life-limiting illness

Hospice Casa Sperantei opened the first dedicated respite and therapy center for children living with rare or life-limiting illness on Friday 21st September 2018. The center will care for children and support their families.

View of Copaceni

Yvonne (Sister St John the Baptist) traveled from England to attend the opening ceremony and she cut the ribbon with Miruna, one of our young patients. Sister St John the Baptist was one of the original donors who gave the estate to the charity and remembers playing at Copaceni as a child.

Sister St John the Baptist and Miruna cut the ribbon

The Romanian Ambassador to Britain and the Israeli Ambassador to Romania attended the ceremony.

Services Offered

Services will include a 12-bed respite unit, emergency accommodation for families facing homelessness and a therapy unit. The “Tech House” will provide therapy through technology such as artificial intelligence, making the center a unique project across the region. In addition services will include education, occupational therapy, a sensory room, summer camp facilities and a family advice center.

When fully operational respite care will be offered to 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.

Guests at the Opening Ceremony

Supporters raise $2 million for the project

Sponsors and supporters of the charity donated just under $2 million to allow building work to take place. The buildings at the site were in a poor state of repair when the property was donated and have undergone a detailed renovation process.

The Florescu family made the project possible

Copaceni is in a picturesque location near Bucharest.  The Florescu family donated its summer estate to Hospice Casa Sperantei to help children living with conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis or cancer. John and Radu Florescu said of the project

“On behalf of our family, we would like to congratulate Graham Perolls and his amazing team for having taken on the Copaceni project. The road was longer and the hill was steeper than we realized and there were many unforeseen obstacles on the way. But the result is that young Romanians who courageously live with illness will have a better life, and our satisfaction is beyond words.”

Graham Perolls spoke of the gratitude he felt for the donation

“I fell in love with the Manor at Adunatii Copaceni the first time I saw it. As I drove up towards it, through fields full of wild flowers, I could almost visualize our child patients sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful nature all around. I could hardly believe that the Florescu family were offering to give their former summer residence to our charity to help sick and vulnerable children. Six years later, the Manor House has been restored to its former glory and is now ready to receive children and families that have been affected by life limiting illnesses and need the special type of care that Hospice Casa Sperantei can offer. Friday 21st September was a day of celebration to acknowledge the incredible generosity of all the donors that have made this exciting new project possible.”

Graham Perolls, CMG, OBE, Founder of Hospices of Hope

CEO of Hospices of Hope, Alex Padureanu, said

“The need for the services offered by our new center is immense. We estimate that there are more than 50,000 children in Romania living with rare or life-limiting illness, 5,000 in the Bucharest area alone. On a daily basis, I see children whose lives could be transformed with proper care but who receive little or no help at present. Their families struggle to cope.

Our new center will help children like Miruna. She has had 20 operations in her short life – after one operation she had to spend almost a year in bed.

The Hospice helps her recover from her operations, through respite care, therapy and ensuring she keeps up to date with her studies. She loves our summer trips at Copaceni and seeing her dancing and smiling with the other children at camp is very special. There are literally thousands of children like her we can help.”

The future

HOSPICE Casa Sperantei wants Copaceni to become a center of excellence in world pediatric palliative care as soon as possible. The charity is still raising funds for medical equipment, drug purchases and employee training and ongoing costs with an annual operating cost estimated at $460,000. Companies and individual donors who want to support this can find additional information below.

CEO of Hospice Casa Sperantei, Mirela Nemtanu, with child patient at the opening

Background to the estate

It unknown who designed the buildings at Copaceni or who originally owned it but the construction date is believed to be 1897. The mansion was bought in 1920 by Richard Soepkez, the CEO of Marmorosch Blank. Soepkez spent his summers at the mansion with his grandchildren Radu Niculae Alexandru Richard (b: 1925) and Yvonne (b: 1926). The property passed into the hands of the Florescu family until 1939 when the communist regime took it over.

The development

Casa Florescu is a small manor house that the charity has transformed into a 12-bed residential unit. The children will be able to stay at the center for short periods of time giving their parents or carers some respite. The purpose of this unit is to improve the children’s physical health and to help with psychological and emotional issues.

The main building at Copaceni

The Annex has been transformed into an assessment unit for the children, a therapy center, a school and a sensory room.

The Barn will host the educational center for both healthcare professionals and for families caring for children living with rare or life-limiting illness.  This part of the development includes the Tech House.

The Chapel building was the first building to be refurbished and is the base for our summer camps for children. The camps are to give vacations to the charity’s pediatric patients, children whose relatives are cared for by the Hospice and children who have suffered the bereavement of a close relative. Anyone interested in volunteering on a summer camp should contact Anna Perolls.

The Granary includes 6 flats and 2 studios for families with a sick child needing urgent temporary accommodation.

If you would like to help

There are still some naming rights available and some equipment is needed. For further information please contact Alex