Many of my friends in Israel asked the meaning of my visit – leisure was indeed one of them however, the main purpose of my trip was to travel to Hadassah, visiting both Mt Scopus and Ein Kerem. What struck me was everyone’s look of awe and admiration when I told them I work for Hadassah UK, fundraising for Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The praise I received highlight Israel’s respect and appreciation for the iconic institution and the outstanding work it produces. Indeed, the hospital is the heart of Jerusalem and HUK work enables blood to safely pump through to ensure it keeps beating.
Wednesday 15th August – Mt Scopus
I traveled to Mt Scopus to meet with Nehama, Hadassah’s resident medical clown. Her greeting was warm, energetic and jubilant – everything you would expect a clown to be! After brief introductions Nehama lead me upstairs to the paediatric ward. It took 20 minutes to walk up one flight of stairs because Nehama interacted with nearly everyone she came into contact with. It’s not surprising she is so popular with everyone at the hospital. Patients, staff and passer-by’s couldn’t help gravitate towards her infectious nature which I knew meant the children’s must absolutely adore her
We stopped in nearly every patient’s room that would allow us to enter and sit, sing and play with them. Nehama was able to engage with the Israeli and Arab patients, speaking both languages which immediately allowed her to connect with the patients and their families. This was a strong indication of the inclusivity and diversity of Hadassah.
Nehama has an ability to put parents at ease, something that can easily be overlooked when focusing on the needs of a young child. Her presence relaxed everyone, turning a serious situation into a calm and relaxed environment. One particular young Arab boy was fixated on Nehama and followed us around. It was a pleasure to see him running around as if the hospital, a place of treatment, was in fact a fun place to be. The escapism medical clowns offer is something remarkable and one of Hadassah’s most distinctive and unique qualities.
I was then given a tour of the new Rady delivery department which is in the final stages of completion. Though it was technically still a building site, I could clearly see the scale of the rooms and the department as whole which looked extremely impressive. The rooms are large, with private bathrooms and a separate corridor that only patients and their families have access to. This allows them to walk around freely without crossing paths with busy doctors and midwifes.
I was also extremely impressed with the healing gardens, gifted to Hadassah by JNF Australia in 2014. Nicole, whom i’d met earlier that day, gave me a tour around the site.The Healing and Environmental Garden represents an innovative approach in treating children and youth with chronic illnesses. I was greeted with many children laughing, running around and playing. The idea these children were sick in anyway never crossed my mind, a sentiment I’m sure many people share when visiting this are of Mt Scopus.
Thursday 16th August – Ein Kerem
The scale of Ein Kerem is remarkable. The campus is city within a city, boasting multiple buildings including schools, various departments and impatient wards. My day began meeting Edna and Raaya from Hadassah School. Overtime we have developed a proposal to submit to trusts and foundations to gain capital for the project to evolve. It was great to put names to faces after exchanging emails for so long and gain a wider insight into the school and the wonderful work it delivers. Next I met with members of the donor department Miriam, Judith and Julie. We spoke in depth about recognition’s and the work that goes behind implementing them. Something I immediately picked up on when I entered the campus was the volume of recognition’s. They are everywhere in so many different sizes, shapes, materials and colours. This highlights the public’s gratitude to Hadassah, through their donations and acknowledgement of their pioneering medical research and treatment.
I was then given a tour of the campus led my David Kramer. His knowledge was so impressive, allowing me a raw, intimate and insight of the hospital and there were two areas that stood out to me the most. Firstly, the Abell Synagogue. More specifically, the Chagall windows within the synagogue that illuminated multicolored lasers that beamed across the room. It was truly encapsulating and was another reminder of the uniqueness of Hadassah.
Overall my time at Hadassah was inspiring, moving and allowed me to see the hospital through the prism of an outsider. I saw the hospital not as a place of work, but as a centre of excellence. One that tirelessly produces innovating research and treatment. It has motivated me massively to continue pushing for vital funds that will continue its amazing work.
By Gabrielle Newton
Research & Development Officer