“A Streetcar Hamed Hope”, the 13th BELhospice charity ball, was held last Saturday in the White Palace, and as numerous times before, this humanitarian event was supported and attended by TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine.

Each year BELhospice delivers awards to corporates and distinguished supporters that helped their cause the most. This year, the award was delivered to HRH Crown Princess Katherine and her Foundation, for supporting BELhospice and contribution to the development of palliative care in Serbia.

The main goal of this charity night was fundraising for the further work of the BELhospice Centre for Palliative Care for free home care for oncology patients and their families, as well as to ensure the sustainability of the Hospice Day Centre in Belgrade.

The guests were first welcomed by HRH Crown Prince Alexander who emphasized the importance of palliative care as “very delicate and very noble work”, and expressed his gratitude to everybody who supported this cause.

“Palliative care involves comprehensive physical, mental, spiritual, and social care for patients, as well as providing the necessary support to their families. People have the right to a dignified life, and to a dignified end of life as well. We need to show compassion for the people who need proper care in the most difficult times, both for them and their loved ones. The mission of BELhospice, dedicated to patients and their families during the most difficult moments of life, when they are most vulnerable and face suffering and great pain, is a noble and sublime work, which deserves all the recognition and support. The support that should be given to their great team of dedicated people is not only reflected in raising the funds that will help further work of BELhospice centres.

Raising public awareness of the importance of palliative care and the right of all people to receive adequate care at the end of life is equally important. We have a responsibility to make palliative care available throughout the country, so that the needs for this type of medical assistance are adequately met. However, we do not need only facilities, but also highly trained medical professionals to work with patients in the way their most delicate situation requires.

My Foundation and I have been cooperating with this extraordinary team for years, aware of the energy and strength they possess and the determination with which they assist patients and their families. I invite all people with a big heart to generously join this humanitarian mission”, stated HRH Crown Princess Katherine in her speech.

The Crown Princess is one of the pioneers of establishing palliative care in Serbia, since the first in-patient unit for palliative care in Serbia was opened by Her Royal Highness in Niš ten years ago thanks to the hard work and generosity of her dear friend Dr. Elaine Laycock.

Many distinguished guests, including representatives of the diplomatic corps: HE Mr. Edward Ferguson, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Serbia, and HE Mr. Mr Daniel Emery, Ambassador of Australia to Serbia, representatives of corporate sector, sports, and arts, as well as numerous others attended the event and supported the important mission of BELhospice – providing palliative care to cancer patients during the last phase of their illness.

Mrs. Vera Madzgalj, the Chief Executive Officer of the BELhospice Centre thanked all people present for their support, empathy, kindness, and compassion, and sent special gratitude to TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine. She also said: “Our theme, “A Streetcar Named Hope,” embodies unity and community. It reflects the values that all of us gathered here tonight hold dear: hope, love, unity, courage, solidarity, dignity, tradition, respect, kindness. It’s about being there for one another. As you know, our fellow citizens – cancer patients in the terminal stages of their illness and, often in pain, many of them alone with their loved ones – are burdened not only by medical challenges but also by financial hardship and isolation.

Children with life-limiting illnesses have no support in their homes, and their major carers are their parents, overburdened with all they have to do, and often feeling isolated. For many of these vulnerable souls, BELhospice is their beacon of hope. With your generous support, we’ve achieved remarkable milestones that have warmed countless hearts. The services we provide go beyond medical care; it’s a lifeline of hope, a source of courage, and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”

BELhospice is the first specialized charity organization in Serbia that provides palliative care to cancer patients during the last phase of their illness. Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual.

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