Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Penang
Advent 2019 : Outreach and Donation to Paediatric Wards at Penang General Hospital
In October 2019, the church had wrote in to the Penang General Hospital to visit the children’s ward, hoping to spread some Christmas cheer and if there is any need by the hospital. A positive respond was received, limiting 10 visitors per ward to avoid overcrowding in the ward and highlighting the guideline for gift giving. They further highlight the wards are in need of 2 infusion pumps.
With the positive response, the church had open up via Basic Ecclesiastical Community (BEC) for volunteers to organise the visit. The parishioners from BEC-Zone H took up the invitation and formed a team to start planning for the visit. Contributions that poured in for 120 gift packs for the children patients includes cute Christmas children glasses, Mattel toy cars, colouring pencils, notepad, colouring books, stickers and colorful Christmas bags. The team also received contributions of chocolates and biscuits for the nurses in the wards. Some carolers volunteered to sing during the visit and also a clown volunteered to walkabout and make balloon art for the children during the visit.
Day of the hospital visit
The visit was scheduled on 4th December 2019 at 4pm for an hour. CHS assistant parish priest, Fr. Michael Raymond who joined the visit presented the 2 infusion pumps to the doctors.
The visit was guided by the hospital staff, Encik Anas, a cheerful and helpful chap who took the time to introduced us to the nurses and explained the situation in the different wards. We were allowed to visit only the surgical ward and the medical ward. For the oncology ward, we had only provided the gift packs as no visitors was allowed. To avoid any infections to the patients, we are not allowed to touch the patients. We are also not allowed to take photos unless prior consent by patient was given.
The group started the visit by singing Christmas songs, while some started giving out gifts to the children and spend some time talking to the children and their caregivers. The clown did his walked about, talking to the children, making them laugh and also making their preferred balloon art. The team had the opportunity to listen to the various challenges encountered by the children through the sharing by their caregivers. The team ended their visit within the hour given, except for the clown whom Encik Anas was generous to get special permission for him to stay for another hour.
The experience was humbling to all of us who joined the visit. Those who went was grateful to be part of the group in bringing Christmas cheers to the children. The smiles of the children as they took out the gifts, especially the cute Christmas glasses, or when they saw the clown and balloons and when the carollers sang to them, was priceless. The parents who just light up to see the smiles on their children face was heart warming. Truly, the visit was a meaningful gift to us who went for the visit.
By Roselyn Tan