One of our Trustees, Aviva Steinberg helped out at our annual London Spa Day, a day to give our Mums a well needed chance to relax and take a break from the challenges of dealing 24/7 with a serious childhood illness, these are her thoughts on the day.
As the Camp Simcha mums arrived at the beautiful home of an anonymous supporter, many of them looked utterly frazzled and stressed. Leaving behind a seriously unwell child must be hard, but Camp Simcha puts in place everything they can to make it possible for these mums to get away – for just this one special day that is all about them. I was looking forward to see how this spa like atmosphere would help to push back the madness that encases their daily lives, if only for a few precious hours. There was some calm soft music playing in the background as the mums came through the front door and this matched with the scented backdrop of candles, flowers and the aroma of essential oils was enough to make me feel sure that this was a kind of medicine you just could not buy over the counter.
Each mum was greeted by their Family Liaison Officer, often given hugs and warm friendly greetings, a relationship I noticed as the day unfolded, that is quite exceptional, almost like a bestie. Each mum was handed their own personal spa bag containing slippers, a matching waffle robe, a soft towel and a host of pampering gifts, they were also handed their very own taylor made schedule that offered them 3-4 treatments, spread over the next 4-6 hours. Some mums I could see were excited, others relieved that they had finally arrived in heaven and others a bit reluctant, as they just couldn’t imagine affording themselves the time and treats on offer. However the amazing Camp Simcha spa team have this special annual day down to a fine art, as they navigate mums through the activity with encouragement and enthusiasm and so I saw the unwinding begin.
The 20+ therapists started working their magic straight away, I saw one very tired looking mum be shown to a treatment room, where she was about to experience for the very first time an indian head massage. forty five minutes later I caught her floating into the lounge area and fall onto a sofa, where she was swiftly offered a late breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruit, juice and a tea. Meanwhile I had noticed two other mums having a lovely catch up on the sunny terrace, perhaps they hadn’t seen each other since last year. Sipping freshly brewed coffee and eating mini chocolate croissants, I heard them giggle a bit, before one was taken off to her reflexology session and the other for a full body massage.
Each of these treatments is done in private beautiful room, of which there are 12 in this rather splendid house, kitted out for the day with professional massage beds, more scented candles, soft fluffy towels and the love and attention of a fabulous troupe of nurturing therapists, each one handing out buckets of love and tenderness. I chatted to a few as I helped them set up earlier that morning, and was just overwhelmed by their passion for this event, many come each and every year and give their time for free, they said they wouldn’t miss it for the world, for them it is their therapy, to know that they have a skill to give to make a difference to ladies with tremendously difficult lives, offering treatments that lift them and last at least a few hours, maybe even a few days and memories that last a bit longer.
Other zones around the ground floor reception rooms are set aside for makeovers, hairdressing and a fantastic manicure/ pedicure area, where 6 lovely therapists were filing, buffing and painting all day long. This area had a lovely vibe about it, with a chatty rhythm that seemed to lift the mum’s spirits further.
Lunch was quite delicious too, lashings of tasty salads, a variety of salmon and other fishes and mini flans, plus the ever popular sushi. Desert options were healthy or really naughty and if that wasn’t enough, what ever was left was cleverly packed up in takeaway boxes for the mums to take home, save them cooking that night for the rest of the family after their day off.
I watched mum after mum transform, from frazzled and stressed beings, to a chilled and smiley group of relaxed ladies. The overall atmosphere was uplifting, I couldn’t believe how much chatter, laughter, giggles and hugs went on around me, plus the odd tear, but never for long and always backed up with so much support.
The Camp Simcha Spa Day is such a fantastic example of what this charity is all about, it was a total privilege to be part of the day and made me so proud to be able to say that I am a trustee for this remarkable life changing organisation.
Can’t wait for next year.