Note from the Editor:
Recently a gentleman named Howard Lucas from Gibsons dropped by The Local newspaper office and presented an editorial to our staff. He had just arrived back from Scotland in early February, where he said he had gone to enjoy the warmth and sunshine – I think not. As he was there, he wrote the following segment outlining an amazing respite home in small-town Scotland. This home was a very special place for all involved including, those working there, the families of those who need the service along with the children who are there with some sort of terminal illness. Please read the following and maybe someday we will have an amazing centre like the one Howard writes about here.
Jim Dorey, Editor
Hazel and Harry
Hazel and Harry are two severely disabled children whose parents use the services of Rachel House in Kinross, Scotland. Rachel House is classed as a respite home to provide support for young members and their families. Rachel House represents the commitment of an entire community to provide needed support to families that are living with a life-limiting condition or a terminal illness. The initial building site and building was bequeathed by Lady Rachel McRoberts and has been operational as a hospice for almost 20 years. Operational funding is provided by Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), countless fundraising schemes and the national lottery, as well as some support from the National Health Services of the UK. Rachel House thrives with the help of the on-going generosity of the people of Scotland and the many volunteers, ranging from medical professionals to cleaning and cooking staff.
Hazel and Harry receive state-of-the-art care from doctors, nurses, counsellors, physical and medical therapists while under 24/7 care and their families are given a much-needed break from their duties as primary caregivers. Harry and Hazel have the very best quality of life given their serious limitations. This is a testament to the care and concern of the staff and volunteers of Rachel House. Of course, these children are protected and nurtured by parents with an amazing capacity for the endurance required.
Rachel House provides an environment of joy and contentment for siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The small step of Harry deliberately sticking out his tongue gave his mother the feeling of winning a lottery. What a delight! Rachel House is not a house of suffering and anguish over what might have been, but a celebration of achievements no matter how small. Harry and Hazel respond to the antics of the ‘clown doctors’ who provide weekly examinations as they provide entertainment in the “crazy as bonkers” style. The children enjoy the music of members of the Scottish National Orchestra who come and play for them periodically. All volunteer their time to enrich the lives of the children and their families.
It cannot be emphasised enough that the services provided by Rachel House benefit not only the families of the disabled children, but also the community. Virtually every adult in Scotland has a passing knowledge of Rachel House and the good work it does. Its reputation is excellent and people throughout Scottish society take pride in its operation. The professional staff at Rachel House is loyal to the ideals of its original benefactor. Employment vacancies are not common and applications are many.
Does Rachel House provide a model for a small community such as exists on the Sunshine Coast? It is funded by a combination of charitable funding, lottery proceeds from the national lotteries and government. The Sunshine Coast has these resources. What is needed is the commitment to provide the service.
As the violinist from the National Scottish Orchestra said, “I have played many places, but playing a Christmas concert at Rachel House for the children and their families is by far the most fulfilling and rewarding.” —Just an idea.
Howard Lucas (guest editorial)