Let this moment shine with smiles!
Together, we can make it happen.
We are fully committed to supporting each child to achieve the potential of life and to make every moment of life sparkle with the brightest smiles.
Let this moment shine with smiles! Together, we can make it happen. Every child must be cared for with empathy and love, not because of the seriousness of the illness but simply as a “person”. Yokohama Children’s Hospice Project is fully committed to supporting each child to achieve maximum potential of life and to make every moment of life sparkle with the brightest smiles, with the strength of family bonds and the support from the community.
Our mission is to run a children’s hospice, a place where children with life-threatening conditions, their siblings, and the whole family can enjoy the richness of life in a homely environment, share joy as well as sadness, and receive the comfort of a long-term mutual support. We also strive to raise awareness about children’s hospice and work on human resource development for children’s palliative care.
Our Vision the 2019 Yokohama Declaration
1)Help children and their families who are left out from the healthcare, welfare, and education systems.
2)Ensure that children with a life-threatening condition and their families have meaningful time.
3)Be open and work in partnership with the local community.
4)Build a collaborative network to spread and support facilities for children’s palliative care across the country.
“Yokohama Children’s Hospice – UMI TO SORA NO OUCHI (a home of sea and sky)” is a hospice for children, which is still rare in Japan. It was born from the wishes of children and families living with life-threatening conditions, as well as those in bereavement.
When you look out of the windows, you will see a gentle stream of water and an infinite sky. There is a park just across the road. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise and Kanazawa Zoo are also nearby, where children and families can enjoy an outing.
Our hospice has passionate professionals who welcome children’s dreams and wish lists and who work together to meet the challenges to accomplish the work. Some are nurses and nursery staff, and our staff collectively work together to support family members and ease their concerns. In places like hospitals and homes, bathing these children may be challenging. Our hospice decided to have a big bath area with a wonderful view. This will create a special memory that the family will remember for a long time.
Healthcare alone may not suffice to improve the quality of life for children with serious illnesses and to provide continued support for the entire family. Yokohama Children’s Hospice Project hosts a variety of training courses, with an aim to create a platform of community-based support for the families, so that they will not be isolated within the society.
In order to promote better understanding and wider public recognition of children’s hospices, Yokohama Children’s Hospice Project hosts symposiums, seminars, fundraising events, and also gives lectures at schools.
The meaning of Haruka’s life
It was in early summer, 1997. My younger daughter, Haruka, had just turned six and was enjoying going to a nearby kindergarten when she started to complain of a headache every morning. We visited a paediatrician but the cold medicines she was prescribed with did not solve the problem. We visited another paediatrician, who also reassured us that it was nothing serious. Time went by without us having any means of finding out the cause of her headaches.
One day, when summer was nearly over, I noticed that Haruka was dragging her right foot as she walked. We immediately took her to a General Hospital, where the doctor gave us the instructions for an MRI. “There is an incurable tumour in the brain stem. She has about six months to live.” That was the diagnosis, and our lives changed forever.
“What you should do is to enjoy your time as a family.” The doctor’s advice sounded cold to my ears, as if there was nothing to be done except to give up.
Five months later, my daughter passed away.
Haruka was a cute little young lady. She loved outings. She had a strong mind and was always willing to face new and difficult challenges.
I asked myself “why Haruka?” and wondered if I had been able to give her the happy family moments that she had desired. I began searching for the meaning of her life, and came to realize that the medical care for children in those days was not taking children’s feelings (needs) into consideration.
There were many issues to be addressed so I decided to set up a non-profit organization with my friends. We established a short-term accommodation facility near a Children’s General Hospital for the families attending to hospitalized children, and also opened a nursery school to support the siblings. We accomplished a lot, but I still felt that healthcare alone was not enough to meet the needs of those children and the families, such as spending a meaningful time as a family, enhancing their growth and development, and providing continuous support for the whole family even after the departure of their loved one.
That was when I learned of a children’s hospice in the U.K. In no time, as if guided by some force, we received a bequest from a former nurse, Ms. Ishikawa, whose wish was also to open a children’s hospice. From then on, the number of supporters kept increasing, and eventually lead to the establishment of a new non-profit organization, Yokohama Children’s Hospice Project.
Children live “the moment”.
Each child must appreciate their potential and not be limited by their illness.
I dream of a mutually supportive society in which the children and families living with life-threatening conditions are not left isolated. That ideal society is the mission that Haruka, my daughter, left us.
|Organization name||Authorized Non-Profit Organization, Yokohama Children’s Hospice Project|
|Address||164 Kannai Future Center, Kitanaka-dori, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, postal code 231-0003（MAP）|
|Board members||Five executives and one supervisor|
|Staff||Three full time staff members and three part-time staff members (fiscal 2021)|
|Article of Organization||Article of Organization|
|Letter of intent for establishment||Letter of intent for establishment|
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