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Gift Box Appeal – A Special Story 2004

 I would like to tell you a story about one box from last year’s collection which Kathrin recounted to the students at la Châtaigneraie.

Kathrin Burki-Hiltbrunner of the “Mission Chretienne pour les Pays de L’Est”, arrived in Ukraine to help distribute boxes, recognizing our numbering and picture system she realized she was distributing boxes prepared by the many students she had talked to at La Chat, out of 84,000 boxes collected this was quite a coincidence!

On arrival at the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Kiev, Kathrin met Vera a quiet, shy ten year old girl with a brain tumour, her father as many of the other father’s of children in the hospital had helped with the cleanup operation after the explosion at Chernobyl. Having given Vera a gift box Kathrin left, to talk with many of the other children and the hospital director, who explained they had 570 patients, receive 1.24 CHF per child per day and are constantly searching for money to help the children, when Vera’s mother called Kathrin back.

 On re-entering the room the excitement and sparkle in Vera’s eyes was unbelievable, the bed was covered in an amazing array of gifts, items Vera’s mum had been trying to buy, including a red tracksuit. There were toiletries, sweets, chocolate, toys coloured pencils and writing books, socks and pencils with her favour cartoon figure, Pooh Bear! Kathrin felt as if this box had been prepared especially with Vera in mind!

In November Kathrin came as usual to talk to the students at La Chat and was telling the story to over 100 students of the happiness Vera’s gift box had brought. At the end of the talk many of the children asked after Vera and the many other children Kathrin had met, and then a student slowly raised her hand and said very timidly “That was my box”! I can’t put words to the emotions that flowed though the room, this was an amazing coincidence the room went silent, tears glistened in eyes as Vilma explained she had made that box. Not only was Vilma the same age and build as Vera but they had the same likes.

 Each time I think of Vilma’s words and the happiness her box brought to Vera, I am so grateful to you all for helping to bring such an enormous amount of pleasure to so many children. Next year I hope together we can help even more children experience this pleasure. THANK YOU

 Tyrrian Livesley