28th Grand Finale is filled with exciting novelties. Apart from moving to a new location, we will, for the first time, we break with tradition and move the date of our charitable run to January the 11th - but we have more news about the Get Even with Diabetes race!
Gold Synapse for the GOCC
We are delighted that the Polish Psychiatric Association recognised the efforts to improve the conditions at the public children's psychiatric wards in Poland. Medical professionals decided to award the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation a Gold Synapse award in the "Friends fo Psychiatry" category. The category is meant to honour individuals and organisations working to support psychiatric care in the country and supports patient's rights. The winners of the plebiscite were announced during the annual International Congress.
We are very proud to receive an award given to our charity by the medical professionals. We are very well aware of the fact of the problems psychiatrists struggle with on a day-to-day basis. I can guarantee that the PLN 3 000 000 (over EUR 700 000) is the first step we are taking on the road to improve the conditions at psychiatric wards in the country. We reserved the money we received from the 1% tax return fundraiser, and we want to offer even more help to this neglected branch of medicine. Also though we need to appreciate that to save this branch of medicine, the government officials must make decisions and introduce changes. Our charity will not be able to bear the burden of supporting this very crucial part of the healthcare system. We can, on the other hand, offer substantial support by buying medical equipment and improve the level of care provided to patients. We can also enhance the comfort of patients. We are determined to execute this plan - says Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak, medical affairs director of the GOCC foundation and one f the founding members of the board of the charity.
In the spring of 2018, responding to the catastrophic conditions at public psychiatric wards for children and young adults, the board of the Foundation decided to use the money raised through charitable tax return donation (Polish taxpayers can choose an NGO, which will receive a 1% of their tax) to buy equipment for psychiatric wards.
We knew that the situation was dire, but we had no inkling as to how adverse the conditions at psychiatric wards was - says Jurek Owsiak, chairman of the board of the Foundation.
The charity was able to donate equipment to 34 psychiatric wards for children and young adults. We bought and gave 1308 pieces of equipment - including some of the most basic, yet most necessary pieces of furniture.
- 798 - bed sets (mattress, bedside cabinet and bed linens)
- 510 - comfortable beanbags
We purchased equipment worth nearly PLN 3 000 000, and we were able to exchange pieces of furniture which served patients at psychiatric wards for years. The furniture we replaced was in awful condition. We are currently looking into buying specialist tests used by doctors to diagnose their youngest patients.
It seems that we are working against the clock itself - doctors and researchers warn that the number of children and young adults who need psychiatric care is on the rise. Studies found that each fifth young person in Poland struggles with mental health, while each tenth young person requires medical attention and support from the professionals.
It's extremely challenging to help the branch of medicine which, seemingly, has been forgotten by the entire healthcare system in the country. As soon as we began to work out what we wanted to buy for children's psych wards, we heard that hospitals and departments were being shut down. Wards were suspended. The entire healthcare system in Poland is struggling - there are not enough doctors, and we are short on qualified medical professionals. Psychiatry is one of the most underfunded branches of medicine in the country. Wards are catastrophically under-equipped. Standards fall short what we can see in Europe. Children and young adults struggle with their mental health, and the number of patients is on the rise. - says Jurek Owsiak, chairman of the board of the Foundation.
With Grand Finale looming on the horizon (not long to go before we celebrate the biggest fundraising drive in the country!), some Collection Centres are already holding fundraising events and Collection Boxes are displayed on business premises and shops.
Come December all payments made in aid of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity will go towards the objective of the 28th Grand Finale fundraiser. It means that you can already make your first donation and help us buy medical equipment for children's hospitals across the country.