(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Motivational Wrist Band: NGO Report

I am using the slogan of Temerarii, a Romanian NGO that serves pediatric cancer patients, as my motivational slogan on my half-marathon in Prague.  When a new pediatric patient is admitted in the oncology hospital, a Temerarii volunteer, usually themselves a former childhood cancer survivor, welcomes them to “the club” with the wristband that says in Romanian, “I know that I did it, you can do it, too.”  This gives the new cancer patient hope that they, too, can overcome childhood cancer.

I met with Shajjad Rizvi, the Director of The Little People Romania and Temerarii, soon after I decided to run in a half-marathon.  I felt that the next step in my own cancer recovery was to start running again.  I needed a goal to motivate me, and since many of my friends have run in marathons or half-marathons, I thought, “I can do it, too.”  When Shajjad showed me the wristband and told me how it was used to motivate and give hope in their NGO activities, I had to have one.  On my recent trip to Texas I brought wristbands to many of my family and friends to enlist their help in keeping me motivated.

Here’s some information about the NGO:  Their main objective is to provide care and support for children and young people affected by cancer. They have Patient Assistance Programs in four hospitals around the country,  Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Bucharest, Iasi (pronounced Yah-sh). In two of those hospitals they have play therapy rooms to provide a child-friendly, non-restrictive environment for children after their treatments.  Last year they provided over 100,000 hours of volunteer service to children cancer patients in hospital or in out-patient or post-treatment support activities. The Director, Shajjad Rizvi and his wife, Katie, a clinical psychologist, volunteer their time for this effort.  

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