As it’s Mothers Day, we wanted you to know that parents are just as important to us (both mums and dads that is) as the children we support. Coping with the daily challenges of a seriously ill child can put an enormous strain on parents and we do as much as we can at Camp Simcha to help them.
For Mums we put on a wonderful spa day, where for one day of the year our mums can relax, be pampered and not worry about illness for a few short hours. Recently we put on our first ever Dad’s event, a Scalectrix racing evening.
Our Head of Services Daniel Gillis explains why we set up this event, “As a parent of a seriously ill child, the emotional strain is enormous, but parents are often trying to be strong for each other and for the rest of the family, so those emotions can be hard to express. Our Family Liaison Officers are often the valve used by the mothers we support when they need to vent those emotions. They will speak on the phone or come in for a cup of tea – and we also have regular coffee mornings for mums to chat to each other and our annual Pampering Day.
“For the fathers it is not so easy. Men are not always good at sharing their feelings, but they need support just as much – which is why we decided to set up these Fathers’ Evenings. At a minimum it is a chance to have fun and escape the daily strain for a few hours, but we hope it will also be an opportunity for dads to talk and get support from each other and from us when they need it.”
Robert Sassoon, whose son David has a rare brain condition called Lissencephaly, attended the Scalectrix evening at Pit Stop in Northolt – coming in the top three for the competition.
He said: “I really enjoyed myself and, more than that, it was an opportunity to bond with people facing similar challenges. Of course, my friends and colleagues are really sympathetic but they can’t fully understand or empathise with the situation we face.
“Spending time with the other fathers also gives you a chance to have conversations about how they have approached the various challenges their child’s condition brings. My wife often talks to the other mothers and will have ideas about ways to deal with issues that come up as a result. We dads are not so good at that, so I think it is important Camp Simcha is giving us this opportunity.”
We also had some events recently for some of our parents to come together, to share information and support each other. One of these evenings was for parents of children with diabetes, who heard from Gabi Colman, paediatric dietician specialising in gastroenterology and type 1 diabetes at the Royal Free hospital. We held a separate event for parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis. Each of these conditions has its own challenges and for parents to share with each other can often be incredibly beneficial.