When you are the mother of a child with a serious illness it’s almost impossible to get a break or a chance to switch off – though you probably need it more than most.
For 17 Manchester and Leeds mums, UK charity Camp Simcha provided that respite with its annual Spa Day.
Held in the beautiful Altrincham home of a Camp Simcha benefactor, with 16 therapists offering their services for free, the mums enjoyed massage, makeovers, reflexology, nutrition advice, facials, hairdressing, manicures, pedicure and aromatherapy.
Camp Simcha, which supports families coping with serious childhood illnesses, arranged for carers to look after the children so that the mothers could take this rare opportunity to relax, at a time when they are facing enormous stress and constant challenges.
Mum Zoe Tucker from Leeds, whose daughter Cherry suffered from liver failure in 2014 and then developed Children’s interstitial lung disease months later, said: ‘I look forward to the Spa Day so much – it is the one opportunity I get to just switch off and do something for me.
‘I don’t normally have any time to myself. This day makes such a difference because if gives me a chance to re-charge.’
Beverley Barron from Manchester, who is also supported by Camp Simcha, said: ‘I came in frazzled and stressed and came out sane and whole.’
Camp Simcha Manchester Family Liaison Officer Harriet Glaskie who helped organise the event, said: ‘We know that when a child has a serious illness, the whole family suffers – mum, dad and siblings as well as the child.
‘We think about this with all the services we provide. The Spa Day is an opportunity to give Camp Simcha mothers a day off, something they desperately need when they are on duty 24/7, coping with unimaginable anxiety, while trying to manage their child’s illness and give their other children the attention they need too.
‘For me, one of the most amazing things about Spa Day is seeing the individual therapists, many of whom come every year, working so hard, giving all their attention and support to the mums in the same way that Camp Simcha staff and volunteers do on a daily basis. I am so grateful for that and we couldn’t do it without them.’