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 54 London mums, UK charity Camp Simcha provided that respite with its annual Spa Day.
Held in the beautiful North London home of a Camp Simcha benefactor, with more than 20 therapists offering their services for free, the mums enjoyed massage, makeovers, Indian reflexology, nutrition advice, facials, hairdressing, manicures, pedicure, pilates and water aerobics.
Camp Simcha, which supports families coping with serious childhood illnesses, arranged for specialist nurses and 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 Sharon Samuel said: ‘I am on alert day in day out but today I have actually switched off. I feel really treated and pampered and it has been so lovely, a rare opportunity to re-charge. I can already feel the beneficial effects.’
Debra Kaye, also supported by the charity, said: ‘It was delightful and a chance to relax outside the surroundings of the hospital. The treatments were fab and the therapists so kind and friendly – it made me feel so at ease. It was nice for that short while to feel I was ‘me’.’
Mum Miriam Zurita added: ‘It’s been amazing to get away from everything and just enjoy being in a relaxing bubble for a day.’
Camp Simcha Family Liaison Officer Samantha Charles, who ran 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, coming together as a Camp Simcha team with the sole purpose of making the day wonderful and special for our mums. Each therapist works so hard and gives all their love, 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.’