As previously reported by LSM this year the Dod Pieci (Gimme Five) fundraising effort 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 broadcast will take place December 17-23 in Dome Square, right beside the Christmas market, but donations are already being accepted and an early effort is suggested in order to ensure your request gets airtime, though if there are more songs than can be played during the 152.5 hours of the marathon, the songs will continue to be played on pieci.lv until everyone has got their money's worth.
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,” said Toms Grēviņš, a stalwart pieci.lv DJ and one of the founders of the charity initiative.
Further information about the campaign is available (in Latvian) at the Ziedot.lv website and the pieci.lv website. You might even want to listen online. In true Christmas charity style, the station has even come up with its own singalong anthem for the campaign, which you can see and hear above.