DR RONNA MCHAMMOND COPACENI – A NEW RESPITE AND THERAPY CENTER FOR CHILDREN

I was extremely privileged to attend the official opening of Hospice Casa Sperantei’s new children’s respite and therapy center in Copaceni. The ceremony took place on Friday 21st September at the center itself.

BACKGROUND / HISTORY

The Florescu family donated Copaceni,the family’s summer estate, to Hospice Casa Sperantei so that it could be converted into a center to help Romanian children.

RENOVATION

The estate was confiscated by the communist regime and the heritage buildings were in a poor state of repair when HCS took over. They have been lovingly restored to their former glory and make a wonderful backdrop for this unique facility.

THE CENTER AND SERVICES

The center will care for children with rare or life-limiting illness such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. It will also provide support for the children’s families.

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, it will house an educational center, a day care center, a sensory room, a summer camp building and a family support center.

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. HCS’s aim is for Copaceni to be recognized as a center of excellence in pediatric palliative care.

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, Madame Nicole Florescu and Mirela Nemtanu, CEO of Hospice Casa Sperantei, all gave speeches of thanks and prayers of dedication were said for the center.

Sister St John the Baptist (Yvonne Florescu) was one of the original donors and together with patient Miruna, she cut the ribbon to open Copaceni officially.

John and Radu Florescu said that the opening of this facility 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.”

PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS ABOUT COPACENI

I attended the official opening with two members of our Board of Trustees- our chairperson, Julianne Paunescu, and trustee, Jennifer Sarteau. They each described their day:

“The sun was shining on all gathered at Copaceni for the opening – just adding to the joy and beauty of the day. The scene seemed to encompass so much about what makes Hospices of Hope such a blessing. The location looked like something out of a travel guide to historical Romania. The laughing children and families affirmed the possibility of making a difference in today’s Romania. Everyone there had been part of the effort – Romanian staff, donors, government officials and those from the UK and the U.S. It was literally the figurative village that was necessary to complete our task – all set in the beautiful (literal) village of Copaceni”

“Seeing Copaceni and being at the opening, gave me hope that transformation comes from something way bigger than ourselves. It comes from people listening to suffering, and in obedience come together for transformation that is of Eternal value.

The joy of seeing the children in this place, and watching how they overcome because of a caring and proficient staff, will never leave me! I feel drawn to come back and to keep close to Copaceni, and to continue to help financially. It’s the best investment we have ever made” – Jennifer Sarteau.

THE FUTURE

The charity is still raising funds for medical equipment, drug purchases, employee training and ongoing costs with annual operating costs estimated at $460,000.

If you would like to help or to see our work in Copaceni and elsewhere inRomania please contact us: alex@hospicesofhope.co.uk.

Read more about our recent projects in the latest Hospices of Hope newsletter.

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