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Amaya Sáez from Menudos Corazones: Our Wishmaker this month!
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June 15, 2015  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Did you know that heart disease is the largest congenital pathology suffered in Spain? And that it affects 4.000 children a year in this country. With these numbers, plenty of passion and hard work, a foundation was born with the aim of improving these children´s quality of life. This foundation also helps families prepare for the different stages of the treatment by providing professional teams and the necessary materials they need. But not only this. The non-profit organisation works to cultivate their self-esteem, creativity, imagination and the values children need to become more independent and keep playing. For these reasons and many more, The Toy Blog has interviewed Amaya Sáez, director of Menudos Corazones and this month´s Wishmaker.

We have no doubt. Little children´s hearts should be mended. For someone who is not familiar with what your foundation does, could you explain what it consists in?

At the hospital, we accompany the children and their families throughout the entire process. We are there with them in the Intensive Care Unit as well as the Neonatology and Cardiology divisions. 

We offer them psychological help and we create fun, educational activities that help them deal with their emotions and reduce their stress.

Outside of the hospital, we offer families free lodging when they have to travel to the hospital. We also offer them personalized support and create amazing camps for young children and teenagers.

Can you tell us a little about your summer camps?

Our camps offer stimulating programs and fun activities, especially designed so they become fully integrated and participate.

We also put them in touch with other children with and without heart disease as we´ve come to realize this helps them become more independent, it boosts their self-esteem, creativity and imagination. Plus, it puts their families at ease.

Tolerance and respect are two values that are highlighted in your goals as a foundation. Do you believe that, heart disease aside, these are values that we should foster in our children?

Of course. When we look at one another, no matter what our nationality, gender, religion or political ideas are… we generate empathy. Empathy fosters understanding of others and it can determine our actions. These two values not only provide personal growth but also helps create a healthier society, as justice and solidarity are part of the equation.

Foto Menudos Corazones

How do you teach a child to live with heart disease?

Children with heart disease are the ones who teach us how they live and how they do it. We are the ones who learn from them, from their bravery, their capacity to accept and overcome the many obstacle they faces…. They are a true example of responsibility and maturity.

Who were your Wishmakers?

The hope and strength of those first parents who saw the need to work together to help their own children and others with heart disease. Thanks to them this foundation was created. They are my heroes, my wishmakers.

What advice would you give parents who have children with heart disease?

I would tell them that they should embrace their child´s situation naturally. Children are children and they want to live like normal children do. It´s important that the entire family keeps this in mind because kids learn by imitating and observing their peers.

What type of activities can kids with heart disease do in order to keep playing and enjoying their childhood?

They can practice any activity they want, as long as they keep in mind their limitations and continue cultivating their capacities and skills. Depending on their condition however, competitive and contact sports are better left aside.

How can our readers help?

Menudos Corazones is a small but powerful foundation. We like to develop strategies together with companies and people who would like to collaborate with us and add to the cause.

To know more about the work that Menudos Corazones does, we encourage you to visit their website. Here, you can also have direct access to the links in order to get involved, make online donations or discover their volunteer program.

Photo Credits: Menudos Corazones

 

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