At Camp Simcha, we know that siblings of seriously ill children are often the ‘forgotten sufferers’, which was one of the reasons we created a special after school art group for them.
As our Head of Services, Daniel Gillis, explains: ‘When a child is ill, their parents’ time and focus understandably and unavoidably has to shift to them, in order to meet that child’s medical needs and hospital stays and appointments.
‘For this reason, our services have always catered to the whole family – and we ensure siblings have volunteers to take them on treats and outings and give them special time. However, this new Siblings Art Group is a chance for them to get out of the house and meet other children in their situation, while enjoying special time which is just for them. It’s been really well-received.’
The children come to the art room at The House, Camp Simcha’s head office, for sessions with two of the charity’s art teachers.
One sibling who attends, Leah Greenberg, 11, is the oldest of five children, two of whom have gastrointestinal conditions, one a particularly serious allergic gut condition, resulting in frequent hospital stays and a very complicated ‘at home’ care regime.
Her mum Miriam says: ‘Leah absolutely loves the art group. It is the highlight of her week when she goes. Our life at home is very busy and this is something just for Leah. Not to mention that she gets to eat pizza which we can never have at home.’
Leah adds: ‘I love it because it’s nice to get out of the house. We are often at the hospital and it’s nice to get away from that. I also really love art so I am so happy to go to the group, especially because I don’t really get to do it home much because it’s hard when my parents are at the hospital.
‘I also really enjoyed meeting all the other people who go and making friends.’