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Photo reporting: New Year's Party in Zaporozhye's Children Hospital Oncology Ward

January 12, 2007, 0:00 5941 Author: Irina Gavrisheva, Albert Pavlov (translated by Yulia Mirnaya) www.deti.zp.ua When children in Zaporozhye's Children Hospital Oncology Ward laugh, it has a higher value than any laughter you would ever hear. Their eyes full of happiness, requests to say " thank you" on their behalf to Santa…

What can be better than a child's laughter? Nothing!

When children in Zaporozhye's Children Hospital Oncology Ward laugh, it has a higher value than any laughter you would ever hear. Their eyes full of happiness, requests to say " thank you" on their behalf to Santa…. People have not yet come up with a word that can adequately describe the feeling that overwhelms you when you see all of this…

On 28th December 2006, a New Year's party was organised in the Oncology Ward by the volunteers of www.deti.zp.ua site. For several weeks prior to the event, volunteers showed tremendous dedication to their task of planning the gathering, buying presents, costumes and other items to create a festive look to the ward.

However, we encountered some unexpected difficulties. For example, 7 additional presents had to be bought urgently on the day of the event, as new patients arrived to the ward.

At last, the obstacles were behind us, all presents were wrapped and waiting for its owners. Children even put their party hats on. Everybody from 1 year-old Karina to older kids were waiting for a New Year's miracle when their dreams to would finally come true…

The celebration itself began with a wonderful performance by the especially hired clowns who proved to be very modern. They called Santa from a mobile phone, quoted popular television shows and organised a mind-buggering trivia. If only you could see how happy the children were!

Later the clowns were joined by Santa's little helpers causing a new wave of enjoinment accompanied by a lot of laughter.

Then, children themselves joined the performance. Many delivered traditional Christmas rhymes…. We made sure that everyone had a turn- even parents joined in at times. At the end of every rhyme, a child would receive a present. Some wanted to get a present so much- they presented their own version of already-performed verses. You should have heard the new version of "Winter Rhyme" by Amedia Shevchenko! It was absolute genius.

Then of course Santa Clause, whom do many perceive as a magical symbol of the New Year's celebration. Our long awaited barer of the gifts. Kids were waiting for him so eagerly, looked for him so closely, you could read the same question in their eyes: " Did he bring me what I asked for?"

Finally, it was time to open the presents….

You can appreciate how difficult it was for the children to wait until the end of the show for this moment. Some, very secretly, tried to open a wrapping paper just a little bit to see what is inside; others were inspecting the shape of the box to guess what the present could be….

At the end, children took a group photo with the lovely Santa Clause and his helpers, even waited for little Danilka Gavrushenko, one of our favourites in the ward, whilst he was pre-occupied with something else.

Then…the hospital's walls became filled with children's exhilaration as they were opening their presents " Look, it can fly!" with a voice full of joy, says to me little Andrey, whose dream of owning a distance-controlling toy helicopter has just came true. He was glowing with happiness- here it is, the long-awaited miracle.

Close by, Sergey Fugol is admiring his toy car. He likes it so much, he does not want to " risk it" by taking it out of the box.

Dima Lucenko, a boy who always greets me with a hug, almost suffocates me in his embrace- he received his much-desired music player. We could not take his picture as he was running around the ward trying to find a CD to try out his new gadget.

Nina Shabanova, as she opened the box, asked coyly " Is this all real? The CD player, the camera…Are you sure it is all for me???"

Lera Skripnik….if only you could hear her joy when she opened her present with a number of beautiful soft toys including her wish, a rabbit. She looked at all of them with such admiration and kept asking whether all of the toys are for her. You see, she was asking for a rabbit only, but Santa was very generous this year and brought her many more toys…

Denis Belka laid pieces from his new constructor all around him and could not believe the entire toy now belonged to him. " Are you sure I am allowed to construct things with it?" he asked. Denis could not believe his luck.

Our baby of the ward, Danilka, looked very cute in his little party hat as he was trying to figure out which buttons to push for his little toys to " speak".

It is difficult to capture through words or even pictures all of the emotions our children felt at that moment.

Thanks to an enormous effort of many people, children and adults alike were in very high spirits. You could see the tears of happiness on their faces. Every mother and a father would come up to us asking to pass their gratitude to all those who made today possible. They wanted to wish a very Happy New Year to all the people who have been helping them to overcome their children's illness and who gave them hope.

Our gratitude is extended to a group of students from the local university for playing an unequivocal part in organising the event (they wrote a wonderful play and made their own costumes). Thank you to those who bought our children the presents and transferred funds for their purchase. Thanks to you we had a wonderful celebration! We a grateful to Clara, from Zaporozhye who took 200 photos on the day and loaned her video camera for recording of the event. And, of course, thank you God for letting us see how many kind-hearted people there are in the world. Evidently, miracles do happen!

Irina Gavrisheva

After Irina left the ward, the celebration was far from being over. Lubov Mikhajlovna, from Donetsk region, has been helping the ward for several months now. When she visited the ward today, she brought with her a numerous mount of presents and to everyone's delight her daughter, together with her dancing partner, performed in front of the kids.

In the culmination of the evening, the children opened a glittery bag releasing many air balloons. What a treat! The Children and adults had truly enjoyed themselves.

From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank everyone, including Ludmila and her daughter, for the minutes of happiness they gave our children.

My New Year's resolution is to do everything in my power to make sure that our children from the oncology ward celebrate the next New Year at home. I hope to get them all together next year when they are healthy and happy. I believe we will collect $65000 for Daniil Pshenichnyj and other children will not be in a deficit of attention….

Let the God guide us to do better by the children,

Happy New Year to you all!

Albert Pavlov

Happy Child foundation - effective help to the most needy children of the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, since 2004

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