Children’s Palliative Care Champions

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There were three worthy award winners at the opening ceremony of the 1st European Paediatric Palliative Care Congress on Wednesday 28 November 2012.

The ICPCN congratulates the two deserving winners of this year’s prestigious Vittorio Ventafridda Award. Both winners are leading lights in children’s palliative care and have contributed enormously to the field. Dr Richard Hain, Consultant in Paediatric Palliative Medicine and co-editor of The Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children, was honoured for his wide reaching contribution to the field not only in Europe and the UK, but worldwide. 

Dr Anna Garchakova founded the very first children’s hospice in Minsk, Belarus which was also the first children’s hospice in the whole of the former Soviet Union. Under Anna’s passionate and competent leadership, this organisation has introduced a broad range of children’s palliative care services including home care, day care, in-patient care and bereavement support to the children of Belarus and their families. The services have also expanded to other cities within the country. Anna was a founding member of the ICPCN Steering Group and is a most worthy recipient of this award. 

Richard and Anna were presented with these awards by Sylvia Lefebvre D’Ovidio, President of the Fondazione Maruzza Lefebvre D’Ovidio Onlus and Dr Gianni Letta, Italian under-secretary of State at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

Another worthy award winner at the opening ceremony of the 1st Paediatric Palliative Care Congress in Rome was Dr Franca Benini, Head of the Paediatric Palliative Care and. Pain Service of the Paediatric Department of Padua University (Italy). She is a leading Researcher in Pain Therapy and Palliative Care in Newborn, Children and Adolescents as well as a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Paediatrics at Padua University. Dr Bernini was honoured with the ‘No pain for Children’ award for excellence in palliative care presented to her by Dr Giampaolo Albertini, President of No Pain for Children.

Sister Frances Dominica, who founded the world’s first children’s hospice, Helen House, was awarded the Help the Hospices and NGS Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) at Help the Hospices conference in Manchester on Friday 30 November 2012. According the the article that ran in the UK edition of ehospice on 4 December, Help the Hospices chief executive, David Praill, presented the award, describing Sister Frances as “a tireless campaigner for the children’s hospice movement and an inspirational human being”.  

Our most sincere congratulations and respect is offered to not only these worthy award winners, but to every champion for children’s palliative care around the world who daily battles against prejudice, misconceptions and bureaucracy in their efforts to relieve the suffering of children with life limiting and life threatening illnesses.

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