– Why did you choose PortAventura for the day of “Posa’t la Gorra”?
MG (Maite Golmayo, AFANOC Communications Director): We wanted to hold the end of campaign party somewhere that was suitable both for children and for teenagers and adults, an area for entertainment where the family and friends of children with cancer could also cut loose and have fun. An outdoor space but with all kinds of services, an area that could ensure the safety and smooth running of the party, a large space! PortAventura not only meets but exceeds all of this thanks to its attractions that double the appeal of the party!
– What is your lasting image of this day, 9th June, at PortAventura?
MG: It’s hard to pick just one as I’m sure that there were a lot that we have overlooked. For us, the fact that an entire family can have fun together, despite all their obstacles, problems or limitations, to experience together moments of happiness, is priceless. But if I had to choose only one, our favourite would be the AFANOC manifesto, when some children who have lived through this reality got up on stage and read a manifesto together with institutional representatives and in front of everybody. It is a magical moment because it brings us all together, children, families, volunteers, administration, board and AFANOC, we are all one big family that got together on that day to thank everyone and say, “Okay, it’s hard, it’s difficult, but thanks to the efforts of all we are making this condition more bearable and here we are today all having fun together!
– How does an event such as the day of “Posa’t la Gorra” at PortAventura positively affect children?
MG: Is there something more positive for a child than to play and share? But the most important thing is the opportunity to raise awareness in a normal and natural way, for society to get to know a reality that is often stigmatised. Children are always children first, before everything else including the disease and the priority for them is to continue playing, having fun and learning.
– How many families are currently registered as part of the AFANOC programme?
MG: I can give you data from 2012 for each area; the figures for 2013 need to be added to these.
Psychology: Beneficiaries: 779
Families served: 229
Psycho-pedagogy: Beneficiaries: 7
Families served: 2
Reflexology and massage: Beneficiaries: 476
Families served: 140
Social work: Beneficiaries: 677
Families served: 199
Hospital volunteers: Beneficiaries: 2421
Families served: 712
Leisure in the hospital: Beneficiaries: 2380
Families served: 700
Leisure outside the hospital: Beneficiaries: 245
Families served: 72
“Posa’t la Gorra”: Beneficiaries: 1,057
Families served: 311
Home volunteers: Beneficiaries: 95
Families served: 28
La Casa de los Xuklis care home: Beneficiaries: 445
Families served: 131
Total families served 1800
– What are AFANOC’s immediate plans for the future?
MG: Having achieved the main objectives over the past 25 years (hospital facility improvements, changes in laws and strengthening the campaign Posa’t la Gorra!) our priority is to maintain La Casa de los Xuklis and continue to offer services free of charge to families, both at home and in hospitals, within the Tarragona and Lleida regions. In short, to keep working to improve the quality of life of these children and their families. That’s no mean feat!
– Do you plan to extend the message beyond Catalonia?
MG: Although we are the Children’s Cancer Association of Catalonia, at La Casa de los Xuklis we welcome families not only from anywhere within Catalonia but from all autonomous regions that are referred to the reference hospitals of Barcelona, such as San Juan de Dios or Vall d’Hebron. We have even welcomed families from other countries as Vall d’Hebron Hospital works in international cooperation with other European hospitals.
– What values does AFANOC pursue?
MG: Without a doubt we believe in equality, solidarity, social justice, family … we work from the perspective that these children should not be discriminated against at any time and that precisely because of their special circumstances, things should be made easier for them.