Lourdes Amayas: “With the new situation in which we are involved with the coronavirus, people have realized how important the outdoors is”
The Juegaterapia press manager reflects on what the isolation situation and the essence of the foundation mean. The closeness and sympathy with which he threw the beginning of the telephone conversation uncovered the joviality that identifies her. Having spent a great deal of his career in the field of communication, Lourdes Amayas decided eight years ago to begin a very special mission as press officer at the Juegaterapia Foundation: permeate the areas of childhood oncology of color and fun through projects, such as “my hospi garden,” which help children with cancer cope with treatments in a more positive way. They have also decided to push forward other initiatives such as “#NoEstásSolo”, due to the situation generated by the disease caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Q.- Q.- Juegaterapia focuses on those projects that are related to games, why do you consider it so important for children who are receiving treatment?
A.- When children play they get away and the hours go faster, even making them forget the pain and face the disease with a much more positive attitude, a factor that benefits them in the evolution of their recovery.
Q.- When and how did your link with the foundation begin?
A.- I discovered the work they were doing at La Paz Hospital and following a conversation with the founder, Monica Esteban, I joined the Juegaterapia team to help in communication issues, since I studied journalism and had been practicing the profession for many years. Moreover, my incorporation coincided with the inauguration of “The garden of my little hospital”, a very interesting, necessary and beautiful project, especially for its meaning.
Q.- Q.- This project was the first to be carried out in a hospital How did it arise?
A.- With the new situation in which we are enveloped by the coronavirus, people have realized how important the outdoors is. And it is indeed very necessary, as it improves mood, quality of life and health. A child with cancer may stay for months.Or even isolated in a room or, at most, go out into the corridors of the oncology zone to prevent and avoid getting bacteria or viruses, as they suffer a significant decrease in defenses during treatments. However, in outdoor spaces, under mask and glove protection, they are safe and this is beneficial for their recovery. We therefore decided to rebuild the roofs of hospitals by transforming them into gardens, a way of escape through which children can escape by playing. In addition, in these gardens, encounters with brothers – who also suffer a lot as they feel isolated or forgotten – develop more naturally and amusing than in the rooms. These gardens are located in maternal and child hospitals in different places in Spain and therefore all children admitted to the hospital of all pathologies can enjoy it.
Q.- Q.- In addition, they carry out other projects such as “lunar stations” in the hospital rooms. What are your objectives with this idea?
A.- When a child enters an isolation room with a marrow transplant, he or she spends a month in isolation completely in his or her room. This is a plus of complication, boredom and anguish that we try to transform into joy, boosting the development of imagination, a very powerful quality of children, since through it they are able to turn things around. For this reason, we thought to have the rooms in lunar stations together with Playoffice, the company with which we designed and installed projectors, videoconsoles, television etc. Consequently, the child lives everything in a different and more cheerful way.
Q.- So, the feeling that isolation has caused is something that these children already know…
A.- Exactly, the new situation caused by the coronavirus is not something new. During these days many of them are happy because this way they can spend more time with their parents and siblings. Although it is true that those who are admitted to oncology plants are under stricter isolation measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Q.- Q.- You work hand-in-hand with hospitals, families and children How are you adapting to the situation generated by the pandemic?
A.- Right now, there is no volunteers. So what we do is to contact hospitals by email or phone to collaborate. We ship to all of Spain, studying case by case. Normally, we usually install video consoles in hospital rooms and through the website we accept donations of these devices, although they must be in good condition because when they reach the children they must work well, but in this scenario in which we find ourselves we manage it all online.
Q.- Have you pushed for any initiatives because of coronavirus?
A.- Yes, we have presented the social media initiative as “#NoEstásSolo”. It arises because IFEMA nurses asked us for radio devices so that the elderly who were admitted would entertain themselves. We also donate tablets so they can communicate with family members via video conferencing, as we know how complicated isolation is. Another initiative is “#Echamosunapartida” in which athletes such as Carlos Sainz junior or Vinicius participate, as well as volunteers to make online games with children and thus make isolation more bearable.
Q.- In addition, on the occasion of World Child Cancer Day you launched the “Joy also heals” campaign, which featured dolls named “Babypelons”. Why are they so special?
A.- They represent children who fight the disease and the tissues that cover their heads are designed by socially known and famous people. In 2007, he became the best-selling doll in Spain and the funds raised are destined to finance various projects. They allow us to continue our daily activities and are now a symbol of the the fight against cancer.
Q.- Q.- The coronavirus has imposed a totally unexpected scenario, which has caused society to reflect on the importance of investing in research and science. Do you collaborate in some way in this regard?
A.- Thanks to the sales we raised with the “Babypelones” we decided to start “Juegaterapia Research” through which we have financed two scholarships at the National Cancer Research Center. And this year we are going to continue contributing to the development of research projects.
Q.- From a personal point of view, how would you describe Juegaterapia?
A.- In Juegaterapia excellence is mixed, both professionally and emotionally. There is a lot of involvement, a lot of love and a desire to do things well. In fact, they are done very well. Helping means commitment and that is what defines the Juegaterapia foundation… It is, without a doubt, a desire to support and improve the lives of children who fight against the disease, but it also involves professionalism and seriousness.
Q.- What is the most comforting thing that being part of the foundation has brought you?
A.- From a professional point of view, you learn to convey the positive side of a very hard reality. It is important to keep in mind that 82,2% of children overcome cancer, as we need people to accompany us, become aware and be able to see the positive part. And, from a personal point of view, it’s all. This is a very human work in which you share many moments with families, understand them and empathies with the difficult moments they are going through. In the end are the stories you live and realize that most cases end up successfully. Oncology plants and professionals who care for children are different, have a very special feeling and vision. The staff and people in this world are made of a particular light, it is extraordinary.