Young cancer patients fly to Holland

This year, about 130 children will be in the Netherlands for 10 days in an all-expenses-paid trip.

Dutch flag (photo credit: courtesy)
Dutch flag
(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.
“They 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 hospitals.