Support to “La Grande Casa di Peter Pan”: a Home for Families of Children with Cancer
Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: May 2013
Project number: 2012-020
Beneficiary: Associazione Peter Pan Onlus
The project consists of supporting yearly maintenance costs of “La Grande Casa di Peter Pan”, a big hospitality complex made of three different adjacent buildings, able to accommodate 33 different families of children with cancer, situated in Rome close to Bambin Gesù Hospital. As a matter of fact, many families travel away from home to get treatment for their children with cancer at Rome Bambino Gesù and Policlinico Umberto I hospitals. These families usually come from other Italian Regions (about 80%), especially from the south, and also from foreign Countries (about 20%).
Peter Pan provides these family a “home-away from home”; in fact, Peter Pan not only provides a quiet and comfortable place to stay at no cost, but also provides help, assistance, warmth and various services offered by about 200 volunteers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and by a wide solidarity network made of other Organizations. Services include for instance transportation from/to Hospitals or Airports, educational and recreational activities for children and their relatives, administration support to families, summer camps and holidays, etc.. Moreover, thanks to Peter Pan Houses, children and adolescents can be more easily cured with day-hospital system, so spending less time at the Hospital, with enormous benefit for their psychological status and health.
In one year of activities, from Sept 1st 2015 till August 31st 2016, “La Grande Casa di Peter Pan” has hosted 131 families; 48 of these families have come for the first time, whereas the remaining 83 had already stayed at our Houses in the past.
The total number of hospitality days offered to the children has been 7.071, whereas it has been 16.344 for the relatives. As a matter of fact, Peter Pan provides accommodation not only to the children and their parents, but also to other relatives like brothers and sisters, grandmothers/grandfathers, etc.. The total number of relatives hosted at Peter Pan during project’s timeline has been 399. Among them, about 19% had an age lower than 18. Overall, 23.415 days of hospitality have been offered at “La Grande Casa di Peter Pan” during these 12 months.
Ill children’s age was quite low, with 33% of children being less than 5 years old. On the other hand, about 19% were teenagers. 53% of children were male.
With regard to geographical origin, about 84% of families came from Italy, especially from Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sicilia, and 16% came from foreign Countries, especially from Romania, Albania and Venezuela.
All hosted children and adolescents were cured at Bambin Gesù Hospital. Moreover, 33% of children have been treated at Oncology Dept., 67% of them at Hematology.
About 44% of children and adolescents spent more than one month at Peter Pan Houses, whereas about 19% spent just 2-3 days for follow up checks. In fact, Peter Pan provides accommodation for the whole length of therapy along the years, from initial diagnosis, during treatment till follow up checks and long term controls. About 7% of children and adolescents spent more than six months at Peter Pan.
On average, children were cured for 78% of their time with day-care system, so going to the hospital just for daily treatment and coming back to Peter Pan Houses afterwards, with great benefit for their wellness and psychological health. Moreover, simple nursing care can be provided directly at Peter Pan House, avoiding children even to move to the Hospital and waiting there for many hours for basic treatment if not needed.
The contribution granted by NPF has supported annual management, as of Sept. 2015, of four family rooms at “La Grande Casa di Peter Pan”, which includes rent, utilities, staff, cleaning services, material purchase, ongoing furniture and equipment maintenance. Three of the rooms (named “Il Porticciolo Fatato – located at “Casa di Peter Pan” house”, “La Principessa delle Nevi” and “Gli Gnomi del Bosco” - located at “Seconda Stella” building) are used for long stay treatments, whereas the forth one (named “Il Nido dei Passeri”, located at “Stellina” building) is used for short stay, mainly for follow up checks. Overall, during the year a total of 2.670 days of hospitality at these four rooms have been offered to 48 families. Majority of the families came from Italy, especially from the South, whereas 4 families came from abroad, two from Romania, one from Albania and another one from Ucraina.
On top of free accommodation, many services and activities have been offered to these families during their stay as well.
First of all, transportation service from/to Hospitals, from/to Airport and train stations at their arrival/departure, to malls for shopping needs.
Every week, many recreational activities have been organized in the afternoon with the support of the volunteers: creative workshops for children, adolescents and their parents (e.g. manipulation of clay, patchwork, origami, painting, handicraft), animated readings and flash-book, cooking workshops (e.g. ice-cream preparation), various games for children, home schooling, workshops of educational technology. Moreover, specific activities have been organized for the adolescents, to meet their specific needs.
Other services which have been offered: hair dressing for the mothers, Italian language lessons for foreign families, birthday parties for children, theme parties (e.g. Carnival, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s day), concerts, theaters, administrative and logistic support, especially for foreign families, free dental cares, shiatsu massages, yoga classes, stargazing workshops, vegetable gardening, movie afternoons or evenings.
During the weekends, trips and guided tours within Rome and in the neighborhood have been organized as well for the children, adolescents and their families.
During the next months and years, “La Grande Casa di Peter Pan” will continue offering free accommodation and services to many other families of children and adolescents with cancer.