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Splashing good times with Star PALS
09 June 2015

Splashing good times with Star PALS

With the help of dedicated volunteers, the Family Camp 2015 was planned for a total of 29 children and their families.

It was sweltering among the prawning ponds, and Mdm Tan* furiously fanned herself and her son, whose limp body she held close. “Jin jua! (Very hot) ” she said, smiling cheerfully nonetheless. She glanced at her husband and older daughter, who were engrossed in prawning.

A splash, shout, and squeal later, a thrashing prawn was pulled from the pond. “Photo! We must take a photo!” Mdm Tan said excitedly, and volunteer photographer Lawrence appeared on cue to snap a shot of the happy family with their prawn.


A day out with the family may not seem like such a big deal to many of us. But for the Star PALS families, an outing is a complicated affair.

First, there’s the condition of the child to take into account. Second, the logistical feat of arranging for bulky equipment to be transported, or sourcing for affordable portable equipment. Finally, the possibility that an emergency could happen outside with no access to medical help weighs as a constant worry.

This is where Star PALS came in, to organise an event that the entire family could enjoy while addressing the families’ concerns.

After all, the welfare of not just the patient, but the entire family, is crucial in paediatric palliative care. “As far as possible, we want to make it possible for our patients to enjoy opportunities with their families, just like any other child,” said Dr Chong, programme director of Star PALS.

With the help of dedicated volunteers, the Family Camp 2015 was planned for a total of 29 children and their families.

The event’s programme was crafted carefully – first came prawning, which was selected as a more sedentary activity in which many of the patients could participate with their families, while the more active children went longkang fishing. After lunch, the families made their way to the Upper Peirce Reservoir for a Water Venture kayaking and dragon boating session, while the children rested in their Orchid Country Club hotel rooms.

Dinner, complete with balloonists, magicians, a photo booth, and a line-dancing team, rounded off the first day of the camp. The next morning, some of the patients tried hydrotherapy in the country club swimming pools, while parents were treated to head and shoulder massages by professional massage therapists.

Through it all, a team of volunteer nurses, Star PALS Medi Minders (trained volunteers offering respite care), and doctors were kept busy in the hotel rooms. By standing in to provide respite care for the Star PALS children who weren’t able to join in the activities at any point in the event, these volunteers allowed the children’s parents to relax with the rest of their family, with peace of mind.

The volunteer minders also followed the children who were able to participate in activities, like the prawning session, to take care of their needs as far as possible.

“Wherever I look, there’s a nurse or doctor,” one of the Star PALS fathers said. “It’s rare for us to be able to feel so secure… to know that if we need the help, it’s just a shout away.”

“Thank you, Star PALS for organising this camp.”

Star PALS would like to thank all volunteers and sponsors who made the event possible.

Know a child and family who can benefit from our services? Do refer them to our website at starpals.sg so that they can find out more about the support we can provide them. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, email us at starpals@hcahospicecare.org.sg.