While driving a sister to a medical appointment in an oncology department in Vannes, France, I had the joy of discovering an association that improves the daily lives of cancer patients.
When we arrived at the ward, in the waiting room, my eyes fell on a tree drawn on the wall. On closer inspection, the tree was covered with heart-shaped leaves with various things written on them.
Below the tree was a poster of the association “AOVA”, Association Oncologie de Vannes (The Cancer Association of Vannes). Oncology, is a branch of medicine specialising in the fight against cancer and more specifically in the prevention, screening and diagnosis of cancer, as well as the treatment, follow-up and relapse of cancer.
The AOVA association was created in 2021 by a group of volunteer carers working in the Oncology Department of the Vannes Hospital in Brittany. Its mission is to improve the daily life of 18 patients hospitalised full-time, as well as 40 patients treated in the day hospital.
Its aim is to provide better support for patients and their families during hospitalisation and also during chemotherapy, through the financing of medical equipment and care centred on the well-being of the patient.
What’s on offer
But it’s more than that. They also offer:
- volunteers who are there to listen, encourage and support.
- organised events, for example at Christmas.
- a lounge for families.
- hygiene and comfort equipment.
- the decorating of the rooms.
- the purchase of bouquets of flower for special occasions.
- digital tablets.
- participation in activities related to the disease.
Thank you hearts
Here are some of the words written on the hearts:
“I hope that medicine all the best in developing therapies.”
“A little bit of gentleness in this world of bullies.”
“Thank you all for your smiles and your kindness.”
“Thank you all and good luck.”
“Good luck in facing this ordeal.”
“The fight goes on. Good luck to all the carers; you are wonderful.”
“Thank you for your kindness.”
“All together to beat this damn cancer.”
“the importance of trees and water so that the body can accept it better.”
Humanising in the way of Jesus
These hearts went straight to my heart. They sent me back to our charism as Daughters of Jesus :
“To honour the Sacred Humanity of the Son of God” , to embark on a journey of humanity and humanisation in the way of Jesus”.
(Rule of Life no 3)
These volunteers are filled with kindness and compassion. In their own way, they are “on a path of humanity and humanisation”. This is what I perceived. And I give thanks to God for it.
Sr Agnès Miquel, fj,