'Dod pieci' charity marathon to target Latvian palliative care provision

Youth radio station pieci.lv ha s revealed the beneficiary of this year's "Dod pieci" (Gimme five) charity marathon with money raised this time around going to provide palliative care for terminally ill patients.

Specifically, donations will provide special liquid food for patients unable to eat solids due to their condition. The provision of these foodstuffs is currently limited and expensive in Latvia despite it being a significant contributor to quality of life for patients in palliative care.

The will be the sixth time the station's DJs have locked themselves into a perspex box while broadcasting to the nation and collecting donations, with members of the public urged to give at least five euros in order to get a record request played on the air. 

This year's marathon will take place December 17-23 in Dome Square, right beside the Christmas market, with hopes that visitors to the Latvian capital may also display goodwill to all men and make a donation while they do their Christmas shopping .

Palliative care has been in focus on Latvian airwaves this year with a Latvian Radio series examining the patchy provision of such treatment. Palliative care is something needed by people of all ages with a wide variety of diagnoses, but the common denominator is that the disease is incurable. Palliative care is not about treatment but about alleviating suffering by providing comprehensive care that includes control of pain and other symptoms, social, psychological and mental problems, as well as psycho-emotional support. It is important to provide the patient with the necessary needs, wherever he or she is, whether at home or in hospital, in order to maintain the best possible quality of life until death.

In Latvia, the situation for caring for terminally ill people is far from ideal.  As well as a simple lack of funding there is a lack of information about how to provide palliative care, and until recently it was a subject rarely discussed, perhaps from fear of the distressing considerations that always accompany questions of terminally ill patents. But that also means there is plenty fo scope for improving the lives of people during their final months, weeks and days. 

"In essence, terminally ill people need as much care and support as a newborn baby... I believe that together we can change the system and make it more human,” says Toms Grēviņš, a stalwart pieci.lv DJ and one of the founders of the charity initiative.  

Riedot Dimanta, CEO of charity portal Ziedot.lv, admits that families of palliative care patients are increasingly turning to charities for help in purchasing specialty liquid food mixes. Often such a diet is crucial and costs between 200 and 600 euros a month. Often people cannot afford such sums, yet it is not an extra or luxury requirement, it is an absolute basic necessity.

Currently, Ziedot.lv provides such food to 21 people, but the number of people in need is significantly higher. Unfortunately, many patients are unaware of this possibility and are essentially suffering from starvation and malnutrition.

Proceeds from the charity marathon will be made available to Ziedot.lv to provide for those who need specialized liquid foods and other forms of specialised nutrition such as enteral nutrition for people who are no longer able to swallow.

Further information about the campaign is available (in Latvian) at the Ziedot.lv website and the pieci.lv website.

 

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