Ski Camp for Organ Recipients
The children were accompanied by two Schneider Children’s nurses, Naomi Zanhandler, Kidney Transplantation Coordinator, and Gili Koren, a nurse in the Nephrology Clinic. Schneider Children’s has sent several delegations of organ recipients over the past years to the ski camp, a tradition which has been made possible by the generous donation of the Executive Committee of Friends of Schneider Children’s which supports the hospital.
The group comprised 5 children and teenagers aged 13-14 of whom 3 were kidney recipients and 2 were liver recipients, who had all undergone organ transplantation at Schneider Children’s. All the Israeli children won medals and one child even received a trophy. The camp comprised another 40 pediatric organ recipients from other countries including Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England, Bulgaria, Hungary, Switzerland and France.
The Tackers Ski Camp dedicates a special week every year to children and adolescent organ recipients from all over the world. The week holds much importance for these youngsters and represents for most of them the first time in their lives that they can be independent and in fact their first opportunity that they are able to change their regular routines of home and hospital. In addition, their shared stay in the company of other youngsters allows the children to find a common language and full understanding of their lives prior to and following the transplant while bridging language and cultural gaps.
Schneider Children’s performs the majority of organ transplantations in children in the country, and is one of the few pediatric hospitals in the world able to conduct a number of organ transplantations simultaneously. Since its inception, Schneider Children’s has conducted more than 500 transplantations of heart, lung, liver and kidney in infants, children and adolescents at success rates on a par with leading medical centers around the globe.
Naomi Zanhandler noted that “Every year I get excited all over again to see the excitement of the children, some of whom have never flown in an airplane before, and to see the camp that is wholly dedicated to children who underwent a similar experience, The children learn how they can lead healthy lives, and are responsible for their own medications and discover mutual responsibility one for the other. This is an outstanding initiative that brings much joy to the children.”
Gili Koren said that “the ski camp is a self-empowering experience and it is amazing to see how the kids in the camp mix with others from all over the world. It is even more amazing to see the change in the children’s abilities and independence that develops during their stay at the ski camp.”