Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine were hosted supporters and high representatives of the diplomatic corps, corporate sector, sports, and arts at the 11th Annual Charity Dinner organized by the BELhospice Center for Palliative Care, last night at the White Palace. This event was organized with the aim of fundraising for the further work of the BELhospice Center for Palliative Care on free home care for oncology patients and their families, as well as to assure sustainability of the hospice Day Center in Belgrade.
As the hosts of this important event, the donors were addressed by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, who has been providing great support to the development of palliative care in Serbia for years.
“This event is of great importance, not only for raising funds that will help the further work of the BELhospice Center but also for raising public awareness of the importance of the palliative care system. My wife, Princess Katherine, and the BELhospice team, thanks to donors, have been working hard for years to expand the network of end-of-life care and I believe that their struggle will motivate others to contribute to this humanitarian mission” – HRH Crown Prince Alexander said.
“Although significant progress has been made in the development of palliative care in Serbia, much needs to be done in the future, which requires joint ideas and forces. It is of great importance for people to be supported in end-of-life care. Several palliative care centers must be opened as soon as possible throughout Serbia. Medical staff require training, many nurses are necessary for each patient, and the centers should be clean and pleasant places both for patients and their families. Palliative nurses also need to provide care in patients’ homes, as well as in these centers. Together we can and we will move Serbia forward and its palliative care establishment centers” – HRH Crown Princess Katherine said.
“BELhospice Center introduced the concept of palliative care in Serbia 17 years ago, and in that period, it provided free home care for over 2,100 patients with advanced cancer, as well as support for their family members, both to the patient and the family, with the focus being to take care of the home environment as much as possible. In this way, our team helps service users to spend the rest of their lives as dignified, meaningful, and complete as possible. The fact is that every year more than 12,000 people in Belgrade need this kind of support in the fight against an incurable disease. Less than 10 percent of them currently have access. The vision of BELhospice is that all patients in Serbia who suffer from cancer in advanced stages receive appropriate palliative care, at the right time, so that they can live with dignity every moment, next to their loved ones – Mrs. Vera Madzgalj, the director of the BELhospice Center said.
The first in-patient unit for palliative care in Serbia – The Crown Princess Katarina Centre was opened in Nis eight yeards ago thanks to the hard work and generosity of Dr Elaine Laycock. Upon invitation from Dr. Laycock, medical staff in Serbia had an opportunity to advance knowledge about palliative care by visiting Michael Sobell Hospice near London. Dr Elaine Laycock is the Chairman and Medical Director of SOS Bosnia and Medical Director of Lifeline Humanitarian Organization in London U.K. – the Office that Crown Princess Katherine opened over 25 years ago. Crown Princess Katherine believes that we need to all work together to support palliative care in Serbia and the efforts of BELhospice.