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|Newsletters: Oley Visits Poland|
Oley Visits Poland
Joan Bishop, Executive Director
I just returned from Poland, where I was a guest of the Polish Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (POLSPEN) and Marek Lichota, an Oley member, homePEN consumer, and founder of Appetite for Life. Marek had coordinated a spectacular soccer (football) event to help raise awareness of the need for portable pumps for home parenteral and/or enteral nutrition (homePEN) consumers in Poland. What an amazing man and event! Words cannot describe the crowd, the activities, the soccer match, and the enthusiasm for raising funds to shift folks from stationary pumps to portable pumps and backpacks.
Marek’s passion for improving the quality of life for the homePEN community in Poland is remarkable and contagious. I feel it’s only a matter of time before portable pumps will be available. We’ll stay tuned.
The festivities took place on Sunday, September 23, with the support of POLSPEN, homePEN consumers and family members, clinicians, and friends in the community. The centerpiece was a soccer match between a team of medical professionals (including Michael Chourdakis, MD, PhD, from Greece, and Alastair Forbes, MD, from England, who made the journey!), and a team made up of members of Parliament, actors, professionals, and Olympic soccer players.
From the start with the ball being dropped from an airplane, to the end when the trophy was awarded, it was apparent that everyone in the stadium was a winner. Food and activities were abundant and a good time was had by all. This was clearly a day that showcased this community of warm-hearted people who have one aim—to help people on homePEN.
Attendees listened as Marek outlined the needs of the homePEN community and introduced them to the Oley Foundation. They were encouraged to donate generously as volunteers circulated with cups. More volunteers sold raffle tickets for a Samsung tablet and other prizes, and a live auction was held during half-time. Inflatable bouncy rides, a giant hamster-ball ride, CPR demonstrations, rides on a firefighter lift, and more rounded out the afternoon’s event. Mission—to inform and entertain—accomplished.
For three days following the match, I was Marek’s sidekick. He showed me a few landmarks and we spent time visiting Dr. Klek and Professor Spodaryk and their staff at hospitals in Skawina and Cracow. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the interest, dedication, and passion regarding quality of care and improving the lives of homePEN consumers.
It was a remarkable journey, organized by a remarkable man for an extremely worthy cause. As the Oley Foundation Executive Director, I was proud to have been part of Marek’s effort and hope that in some small way I contributed. Hats off to Marek and his tremendous team of volunteers! We cannot wait to see what they have in store for us next year.
Marek tells us there will soon be a video of the event at www.youtube.com/AppForLife.
LifelineLetter, September/October 2012