As tradition has it, the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) organized a very successful family vacation for 120 children with cancer and their families, which was held from Sunday, August 28 to Wednesday, August 31, 2011.The vacations were open to everyone as they included siblings and parents, Arabs and Jews, religious and secular people, new immigrants and native Israelis from all over the country. The 4 days lasting vacation took place in the famous and gorgeous Shefayim Hotel. A very tight program was put up and offered diverse activities for the entire family. Parents and children found the time to chill in the “Moadon Haaguda”, which was set up in the cultural center of the hotel, and enabled them to take some time to rest, talk and listen to the other parents who were going through the same. One of the peaks of the holidays was the visit of the Israeli “A Star is Born” finalists who performed and encouraged the youngsters to keep up the fight and took their time to talk and listen to their fans who could not believe their eyes as they were approached by their idols. Many pictures, that now certainly cover the walls of their rooms, were taken on this special occasion.
The IDF "Lehakat Heyl Hinuh", composed of three young women soldiers, entertained the audience with songs and dances and encouraged the young patients to never give up hope while telling them that they too would one day be able to enlist into many different army regiments.The participants were invited to visit the "Waterpark Shefayim" and take part in diverse activities, such as laughter and creation workshops, arts and crafts, talent contests and movies.A special room in the cultural center of the hotel was dedicated to the older children where they could enjoy games that suited their age group, such as baby foot and billiard tables. A competition was organized between the children and their parents. The laughter and cheering could be heard at the other side of the hotel.The children were not the only ones who enjoyed themselves as their mothers were also offered a special treat and were taken care of by MAC's (on behalf of Estee Lauder) make-up advisors in the framework of ICA's "Look Good... Feel Better" Project.Laughing, smiling and forgetting about everything for a moment was made possible by the exotic Beni Zadok, who organized an African happening for parents and children while using music, and especially percussions, in his wonderful show that took the participants "To Brazil through Africa". As the sounds of the Brazilian and African drums still bounced into the ears of our participants, a Zumba instructor introduced our friends to the voluptuous and unforgettable steps of Salsa, Meringue, and Jazz Ballet. This magical ambiance continued with the performance of a magician who amazed the young (and older) audience.Mrs. Orit Spira, social worker and Head of ICA's Rehabilitation and Welfare Department, said "The purpose of the family vacations is to offer young patients, their siblings and their parents, a welcoming break from tense medical routines, a chance to "recharge their batteries" for the next round of therapy and an important hope for the future. What is so special about the ICA Family Vacations is that it is not just another summer camp. It is an opportunity which offers a small isle of happiness and pleasure to the parents and the healthy siblings".The memory of this year's Family Vacations will certainly put a smile on the young patients and their families as they will return to their routine, which as we know, is not a piece of cake. ICA is happy to have been able to offer some great moments to people who have been very courageous and who deserve all the best in the world.