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St. Hubert hosts Russian guest

Children of the hospice visit a museum during a field trip. - Photo courtesy of Carole Hansen
Children of the hospice visit a museum during a field trip.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Carole Hansen

You don’t need a translator to understand the importance of helping terminally-ill children.

Father Alexander Tkachenko, the founder and executive director of the St. Petersburg Children’s Hospice, is visiting Whidbey Island from Russia to speak about his work.

Tkachenko will talk about the first pediatric hospice and palliative care service in Russia, which he founded, said Carole Hansen, organizer of the presentation.

“The story of Children’s Hospice is one of ground-breaking change,” Hansen said. “Father Alexander has worked miracles in the lives of these youngsters by changing attitudes of the people of St. Petersburg on many levels.”

Children’s Hospice in St. Petersburg has become a light in the darkness for poor children with terminal, severe disabling and life-limiting conditions and their families helping them to live life to the fullest, Hansen added.

“He started out in 2003 with five patients, now the hospice has over 200,” she said.

The hospice provides services that are quite common by American standards but are a novelty in Russia, such as counseling to patients and their families and providing hygienic supplies and medical equipment.

Hansen said the organization has opened doors to museums and other public places for the ill children. Disabled access is not common and people often end up “shut out of life,” Hansen said.

Tkachenko will speak at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at St. Hubert Catholic Church on Third Street in Langley.

The Children’s Hospice has been well supported for several years by St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods in Freeland, Hansen said.

This is Tkachenko’s first presentation at St. Hubert Catholic Church.

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