(photo credit: courtesy)
For the 20th year in a row, the Zichron Menachem volunteer organization is
taking children suffering from cancer abroad with doctors, nurses, psychologists
and counselors to give them a respite and the emotional strength to fight their
disease. They leave for Europe on Tuesday.
This year, about 130 children
will be in the Netherlands for 10 days in an all-expenses-paid trip that will
include riding in hot-air balloons, “extreme” sports and other activities,
despite their conditions, and accommodations in a five-star hotel.
return like new,” said Miri and Chaim Ehrenthal, who founded their organization
in memory of their son Menachem, who battled blood cancer from when he was a
baby until his early teens. The special atmosphere is boosted by daily support
group discussions with professionals and volunteers to help the youngsters cope
with their disease.
Zichron Menachem provides the parents, who remain at
home, with time off from worrying about their sick children, encouraging them to
focus totally on their healthy children.
Each counselor is responsible
for two children. Others in the delegation worry about logistics, while the
medical personnel ensure the kids’ health is taken care of in accordance with
their medical files. A clinic with two and a half tons of medical equipment is
set up at the hotel.
Photos are constantly taken of the children so they
can remember their experiences and preserve their exciting memories when they
return home. A month later, each youngster receives a personalized disk showing
the child and the experiences he or she had.
During the rest of the year,
the organization takes care of 190 children and their families at its center in
Jerusalem’s Bayit Vegan neighborhood and provides aid and emotional support in