Children’s Palliative Care Foundation’s 1st Anniversary in Hong Kong Disneyland Resort: “A magical celebration of Children” Supporting seriously ill patients and caregivers to create precious family moments
HONG KONG, September 29, 2019 – For children with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses, their treatment is often a long and arduous journey. Their caregivers, including parents, family members and healthcare professionals often face endless challenges and selflessly devote their time and energy to providing the best care for these patients. Since the inauguration of the Children’s Palliative Care Foundation (CPCF) last year, it has served around 60 families with children suffering from life-threating and life-limiting illnesses, working closely with professional healthcare teams in hospitals. It provides palliative care for young patients so they can return home soonest to live a full and happy life at home.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) invited patients and families of 13 palliative cases for a two-day visit to the park and a one-night hotel stay, giving the families an opportunity to spend some quality time together and have an unforgettable weekend at HKDL. It was the first time for many of the participating families to visit Disney together, meaning they cherished the opportunity very much.
Chairman of the Governance Committee of CPCF, Mr. Edward Yu, alongside Chairman of the Hong Kong Society of Children’s Palliative Care, Dr. Rever Li and Managing Director of HKDL, Ms. Stephanie Young, joined the event. A number of CPCF staff, as well as foundation committee members and Disney VoluntEARS were there lending a hand to bring more positive energy to the children and their families.
Ms. Stephanie Young said she believes Disney’s timeless stories have touched the hearts and lifted the spirits of many generations, and hopes to bring comfort to sick kids and their families during difficult times: “Classic Disney character Mary Poppins, for example, always has a bright smile and positive attitude. She teaches children how to overcome challenges and how to have a positive attitude to change your mindset and create a more joyful and happy life. The Disney VoluntEARS program hopes to reinforce the positive beliefs among patients as well as their caregivers and family members, and to pay tribute to their selfless dedication and strength,” Ms. Young said.
Mr Edward Yu said he appreciates HKDL for offering a respite for caregivers in their long journey fighting chronic illnesses: “Around 200 children die from diseases every year in Hong Kong. It is a small number as compared to adults, but the impact on the families both physically and psychologically is beyond our imagination. We are devoted to helping these families in need to overcome their hurdles every day. The CPCF also needs support from the general public to stand with us and support caregivers, so we can work together to enhance the life quality of life of these young patients,” Mr. Yu said.
Tan is a two-year-old boy who just celebrated his birthday this July, and was born with multiple congenital anomalies. He suffers from Pierre Robin Syndrome, Microphthalmos, Microtia, and more. His mother, Mrs. Yeung, has to look after him at 24/7 to prevent the dislodgement of his tracheostomy tube. She said taking Tan out is a luxury for them: “I am worried that when he is in a crowded place he might have a medical emergency or get infected. Every time we go out, I have to carry a first aid kit and heavy life-support machines, and always need someone to assist me. That is why it is not easy for us to have a normal family outing. But this time I have the help from the CPCF nurses and the volunteers from HKDL, so I’m very relieved that our whole family can have an enjoyable weekend outing at the park and stay in a hotel. This will leave me with many loving fond memories.” Mrs. Yeung said.
Bringing Disney magic to the community and sick kids
HKDL has always been committed to Hong Kong and the communities it serves, and caring for sick kids is one of the ways the resort delivers on that commitment, such as supporting them to make their dreams come true, arranging hospital visits with Disney VoluntEARs and beloved characters, as well as arranging hospital play services where they can experience new entertainment offerings. Recently, HKDL joined hands with the Children’s Cancer Foundation to bring that magic to the community, by providing creative toys and learning equipment to the new community service center at So Uk Estate in Kowloon. Meanwhile, the Disney VoluntEARS program hopes to arrange volunteers to visit the service center or create Disney storytelling events every quarter, to deliver comfort and inspiration to families with children facing serious illness.
HKDL’s park and resort hotels place a strong emphasis on offering a variety of services and barrier-free designs for guests with disabilities. In park for instance, there are Chinese and English Braille guides and audio guides available for rental. The three resort hotels also have a select number of accessible rooms which are well equipped for each and every guest. Each of these elements ensures that those facing diversity still have the opportunity to enjoy the magic of Disney and have as smooth an experience as possible.