Anybody whose child has ever required a stay in the hospital has undergone enormous stress. It is heart-breaking to watch your little one suffer. The suffering is only compounded by being torn away from familiar surroundings and having the whole family’s routines disrupted as one parent joins the sick child in the hospital. The experience is stressful enough no matter what the hospital conditions might be. Yet try to imagine a situation when the parent staying with the sick child has no place to sleep. Some of you do not need to imagine because you have been there – at the University Children’s Hospital in Kraków.
The University Children’s Hospital (UCH) is the largest paediatric hospital in the south of Poland, with almost 500 beds in over 20 wards. In recent years, the hospital has received significant funding for the modernisation of its medical equipment – yet one area where it remains outdated are the facilities for the parents of hospitalised children. The UCH has been especially notorious for being one of few hospitals in the region to provide no accommodation for parents. The hospital’s bylaws also forbid parents from bringing in their own mattresses. This leaves mothers and fathers of little patients with a choice between restless nights in a chair or on a contraband mattress. Until recently, the argument was that there is no room for parents’ beds. One tested solution are foldout armchairs that you can sit on during the day and pull out for sleeping at night. IWAK is doing its part to bring this solution to the red-eyed parents of sick kids in Kraków, and you can join the effort by buying a ticket to this year’s Christmas Charity Gala and helping support the charity auction.
The Christmas Charity Gala is one of IWAK’s great traditions – a chance to dress up and dance the night away for a good cause. This year’s Gala will aim at raising funds to purchase 100 beds for the children’s surgery wards at the UCH. We are partnering with the hospital’s own charity foundation, O Zdrowie Dziecka (For the Health of the Child – http://www.odnowaszpitala.pl/), which has earmarked its funds from this year’s 1% campaign for the same cause. With IWAK’s help, the hospital foundation is committed to the goal of providing a bed for a parent next to each of the 500 children’s beds in the entire hospital. If we succeed at this goal, it will mark the dawn of a new era for families at the University Children’s Hospital – including the families of IWAK members who may need a stay at this hospital in the future.