Projects and Activities

Weekend Retreat

“When our dear Tali is invited to a weekend retreat with Refuah’ VeChaim, we immediately arrange for a weekend vacation for the family, so that we all make the best of this time: Tali enjoys the warm empathetic care she is given the whole weekend; the great activities and the happy enthusiastic atmosphere at the weekend camp- and her siblings enjoy a mother and father that are all theirs for the entire weekend!”

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Refuah’ VeChaim works hard within its various divisions and amongst the hundreds of volunteers, but our flagship project is arranging the vacations for our special children. There, the children enjoy an unforgettable experience they don’t usually get to attend on regular days. The activity is adapted especially for them as all the while he has a volunteer that will not leave his sight during the entire weekend.

Why do we do it?

Our main goal is to cheer up these special children who critically need the motivation as well as the support and warmth. During weekends and off days, when the rest of the family need some time to rest, that is when we are in the picture! Since it is seldom the siblings in such a family get to enjoy full parental attention as per the close care the special child needs, these weekends are all the more precious.

These retreats host special children in complex conditions. They are cared for in the ‘Intensive Care’ division by a well trained staff as all the while there is a medical team on premises, ready to offer any medical help should the need arise.

A mother tells her story:

I was hospitalized after a harsh case of mononucleosis. I was weak and exhausted, but my thoughts went out to my Udi. I kept trying to think of a place he could stay in the upcoming weekend. Udi is a special child, and it is not easy to find a family to host him for two whole days. During regular week days, it is easier to take care of him in the few hours he is at home after school, before he goes off to sleep. Nevertheless, during the weekend, he is at home all day long and it is that much more complicated.

As if out of a dream, just like in those story books, the phone rang and an angel was on the other side… a woman from Refuah’ VeChaim was calling to tell us about the retreat this upcoming weekend!

I could not help my tears. How do they always know when I need them the most?!

In the past three years:

Weekend retreats

camp days during holidays and off days

special children

volunteers

Wish Fulfillment

Rafi, a graceful child with Down syndrome, was approaching his Bar Mitzva, not knowing if he will get to celebrate his big day.

He wished, and Refuah’ VeChaim complied. A real Bar Mitzva celebration was arranged for him with a band, a feast and a beautiful hall. There were also many guests: Refuah’ VeChaim volunteers came to rejoice with him, all his family and friends, and even his favorite singer came to sing a Bar Mitzva song for him! No set of eyes remained dry. It was exciting to see how easy it can be to make one sick Bar Mitzva boy happy beyond his dreams.

Itsik is a 9 years old boy. He is sweet and smart. He’s also sick. Actually, he is terminally ill. A young boy dealing with an unforgiving reality. Itsik had an old dream- he wanted to fly in a real airplane! It was almost unrealistic to realize that dream, as Itsik was connected to many medical devices making his mobility highly compromised, how is it possible to get on an airplane that way?!

Nevertheless, the volunteer accompanying him during the weekend camp heard of his wish, and turned to the Wish Fulfillment division in Refuah’ VeChaim. The staff there decided to do whatever it takes to take Itsik on this journey. The preparations were endless. Medical, logistical and bureaucratic arrangements were taken care of, and a short while ago, we got to fulfill his wish and fly Itsik to Europe! No words could describe the happiness on that nine year old boy’s face. You could only but imagine. The sky is the limit…

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Many patients who are bed ridden, of limited mobility and at times terminally ill; ask to fulfill a lifelong wish.  Whether it be to participate in a child’s wedding, to visit family members or to simply drive out somewhere and enjoy a day of fun.

Refuah’ VeChaim will often comply, happily and willfully. The association’s volunteers, in strict coordination with the patient’s doctor, will arrive at the patient’s bed and bring him to where his heart desires. We know and believe that a smile and happiness are the best medicine. How could we afford to stop spreading those around?

Simcha Parties

We call them ‘Soldiers of the Simcha Division’. For the past 35 years, they spread the simcha where no other people set foot. Tens of Simcha Parties take place, in places where lay those who are long crushed to pieces. Patients who are broken, emotionally or otherwise, lay at their bed as if forgotten. Into the ward burst in the full Refuah’ Ve’Chaim band, and our ‘soldiers’ sing and dance to the sounds of the instrumental music and song. For two full hours, Refuah’ Ve’Chaim volunteers will go from room to room and from patient to patient, and try to turn on the light in a gloomy and dark environment. The patients and their families often get a second wind and with somewhat of renewed strength, they will at times rise up from their bed and join the party, often disregarding the pain. Science has yet to prove this, but we believe that happiness opens doors of hope, and anticipation to health that might still return.

Retreats for special children

In times when there are no routine learning days in special children’s institutions, especially during the summer and off days; Refuah’ Ve’Chaim is set to receive the special/ sick children with open arms. On camp retreats we enrich the children and care for them in an adapted special and caring environment, with medical presence on premises.

These hours are full of new learning, excitement and motoric experiences. The volunteers abide by the rule of providing fun few hours to each child, with the goal of trying to ease the tough hours of the afternoon off the parents, leaving them free to tend to other needs of the family.

The retreats carried out by Refuah’ Ve’Chaim are full of fascinating activities, fun attractions and motoric challenges. A devoted staff of drivers stand ready to bring the kids over and drive them back home after the retreat is over, happy and satisfied.

During the summer vacation we take out a few rounds of summer camps, carrying the same manner. Summer camp is located in a special facility adapted for the special child, guided by a certified staff and volunteers with a big heart. These essential few days allow the parents to go on and try to run a normal course of life at work and in the house; when there is no school.

As camp is over, the children return home with new strength and a good mood, to continue their challenging everyday routine.