Support for sick children

2018-06-12 06:00
From left: Rodney Bloom, Terri Marks, Martine Trope and Alan Committie at the launch of the Rohan Bloom Foundation.

From left: Rodney Bloom, Terri Marks, Martine Trope and Alan Committie at the launch of the Rohan Bloom Foundation.

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The family of late cancer patient, 14-year-old Rohan Bloom, in partnership with a children’s doctor at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, has launched a foundation to support children living with cancer.

The foundation also aims to provide care and a support system to families of terminally-ill children in and around Cape Town.

A top priority of the foundation is to establish a hospice facility that will accommodate both children and their families in their time of need.

Located less than 2km from Red Cross, the three-storey facility is under construction.

According to Rohan’s father, Rodney Bloom, the facility will comprise wards for terminally-ill children and space for their parents, a playroom to accommodate patients and their visiting siblings, a therapy room and a garden section.

Bloom says it will be wheelchair friendly with an option of a lift for ease of movement, and there will be professional nurses and doctors on call.

He says the purpose of the facility is to ensure a child’s passing is dignified while also creating wonderful memories for their families­.

Bloom says the idea came about at a time when he and his family had to face the difficulty of dealing with Rohan’s terminal illness two years ago. Rohan passed away while living with his family, but they wished there was a better space where Rohan could have spent his last days with dignity and support. Rohan was 14 when he lost his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma cancer.

Bloom says he realised then that there were no hospices for children in Cape Town. “Cancer affects many children and, like adults, they too deserve to be offered an opportunity to die with dignity in the most favourable conditions. I can only imagine how families from less-privileged homes deal with the trauma of having a sick child under unlikable conditions. I think of people living in shacks and Wendy houses in the hearts of townships. This facility hopes to give them hope and relief, knowing their children are well taken care of.”

However, he says in order to make the hospice a reality, they need the public’s help.

They are solely dependent on donations.

Paediatrician Dr Michelle Meiring says this is a dream come true for her. She has long been wishing to see a children’s hospice in the city. She is amazed by the support they are receiving.

Initially the hospice will provide eight beds at a cost of R2000 per bed per day for a child up to the age of 18. “We will need as much support as we can get.”

V For more information, visit the Rohan Bloom Foundation Facebook page.

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