|Children's Holiday Foundation|
The Appledore Maritime Players are very pleased to be able to raise monies for local charities, one of which is the Children's Holiday Foundation North Devon (Registered Charity No. 1045928), which provides holidays of a lifetime for children with life threatening illnesses or severe disability. Dr.Robin Buckland writes more:
What is the Children's Holiday Foundation?
We are a registered North Devon Charity and our aim is to provide holidays of a lifetime to Florida for children with serious illnesses or major disabilities.
What is the Holiday of a Lifetime?
The children are accompanied by adult helpers on a two week holiday to Florida to visit the many exciting theme parks. These include the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, Sea World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and at least one of the Water Parks. They also spend time relaxing and having fun in the hotel swimming pool, shopping and eating in the family restaurants. We try and look after each individual childs' needs and our aim is to try and make the holiday one of the best two weeks in their lives. A video is made of the whole holiday which allows the families to share the childs' experience with them at a later date.
How do We Find Our Children?
The Children come from North Devon and on most occasions are nominated by Consultant Paediatricians, GP's, school nurses and social workers. We have so far taken 100 children on twelve separate holidays since 1993. Our most recent holiday was in October 2005 and we are now fund raising for our next trip in early 2007.
What sort of Illnesses or Disabilities do They Have?
We have taken children with the following illnesses and disabilities - leukaemia, brain tumours, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease, diabetes, liver failure, kidney failure, other childhood cancers, muscular dystrophy, brittle bone disease, spina bifida, quadriplegia, and cerebral palsy. Sadly, many of the children have more than one problem and often their medical treatment or surgery can leave them with other disabilities.
How do The Children Benefit?
Firstly, the holiday gives them something to look forward to. Most of then have spent alot of time in hospital having medical or surgical treatment and often they have had to travel long distances to specialist units. We all need something in life to look forward to and many of the parents tell us that the very thought of the holiday often gives their child a huge lift which can in itself help to improve their physical and mental health. The holidays give them very happy memories of a holiday of a lifetime which often is in direct contrast to the more unpleasant memories associated with their illnesses or disablilities. Human nature often allows us to bury the more unpleasant memories in life and hang to on the more happy memories. The holidays are a great morale booster. The children often come back with a more positive attitude toawrds coping with their illness which can spark an improvement in their physical and mental health. Children with serious illnesses or handicaps often feel detached and isolated. Sharing in the group experience and meeting with other children with similar conditions often helps them to come to terms with their own problems and gives them new confidence to cope with the major hurdles that many of them will have to face up to in the future.The holidays also benefit the family. caring for an ill or disabled child can be a tremendous financial, emotional and psychological burden. The holiday gives the family a break allowing parents to spend extra time with other siblings. Often the separation from the family can help the child to become more independant and self-confident. Since we have started these holidays we have had an annual reunion and it has been vey rewarding to see how these children have developed over the years. Many of them have continued to suffer with their illnesses or disabilities but they have all grown in stature and confidence. We like to think that we may have played a very small part in their development.