When we learned that Scotland were drawn to play Belgium in the European qualifiers, it immediately brought back memories of our 2012 visit to the UZ children’s hospital in Brussels when we donated to the Oncology ward. Therefore, it was not a difficult choice to look closely at the UZ Hospital again and see if there were anything we could do to assist once more.
On communicating with them, we learned about De Appeltuin (The Apple Garden), which is an area linking the wards within the hospital. It is a place where children who are patients can play and mix with other children. It is also where they continue their education during their stay in hospital. It was unanimously agreed between our steering group members that this was a worthy recipient of our 73rd consecutive donation.
The following information was supplied by Jeroen from the hospital:
‘The Apple Garden is a unique haven that unites all children undergoing treatment in the hospital. It is a living space where children can play in a cosy homelike environment thus enabling them to forget at times that they are in a hospital. They receive music therapy, play games, live themselves out in crafting and what not. It has an oncology wing and a wing for other young patients.’
On the morning of the match, 18 fans made their way to the Apple Garden on the outskirts of Brussels, many of whom had never been to a presentation before. For the first time ever we had 2 pipers (thanks Dougie Wotherspoon and Brian Roy), who entertained the staff with their repertoire on the pipes. Professor Van Plassen who was head of the children’ hospital in 2012 – and was still there – attended the presentation and received the cheque on behalf of the children. We were given a guided tour of the facility whilst the children played happily, and it was difficult to comprehend that some of those children were critically ill.
The hospital advised us that they intend to create a kitchen within the facility, so that parents can cook their children’s favourite meals. The facility may be named the “Tartan Army Kitchen”. Now that would be a fantastic legacy for The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal and our wonderful supporters.
On the day after the presentation we received the following communication from a parent:
A few years ago, when our son was still, like all the time, in the hospital, uz brussel, for his cancer treatment you guys came by. Also loaded with tickets for the game, gifts and smiles and sunshine. He and his little friend Yannis, also cancer, have such fond memories of the moments you gave them. And now you were in our hospital yet again showing your good hearts and wonderful natures, making really sick kids happy. So we want to thank you for being who you are and spreading joy and happy memories. Sadly our sons friend Yannis past away last week, but the good and happy memories stay with us. And a few of those memories you guys created. So thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts for everything.