Report contact weekend 2008

ALS contact weekend from 12 untill 14 September in Nieuwpoort

Every year the ALS Liga is looking for a suitable location for the contact weekend. This year was chosen for the coast area Nieuwpoort.  We didn’t just choose for Nieuwpoort. To begin Nieuwpoort has a very wide range of water sports and water activities. It is a young and dynamic area with a large promenade and a fine sandy beach accessible to wheelchair users. The fishing harbor has daily fresh fish and shrimps straight from the sea. Nieuwpoort also has a rich history with many attractions including the Town Hall, the Church of Our Lady, the fish market and the King Albert I monument. The hotel where the ALS Liga stayed called Cosmopolite. Situated near the sea, the harbor and the main shopping street. In short, the ideal place for those who wanted to explore the area. With all these features the weekend had to be a success.

The first patients arrived Friday afternoon at the hotel Cosmopolite. Thanks to the efficiency of Mia the room distribution went without many problems. She treied to respect the wishes of all participants. The PALS received an envelope containing the key, an information sheet and for each person a drink coupon and a receipt for the foot massage. Those received their envelope could immediately explore the room. There was plenty of time to unpack the luggage and who wanted could also just explore the area. Also Marleen and Leah attented the contact weekend on Friday and Saturday .

At six thirty everyone gathered for dinner. When everyone  found a place in the dining room we could taste our first bites of food. They prepared us a nice meal with a cold starter, main course Vol-au-vent. A dessert course couldn’t be forgotten.

After dinner were several people became acquainted. Others chose to enjoy a moment of rest in the room. Later the evening, there was also the performance of our ambassador Mong which we all liked very much. While some sought out their beds  stayed others for an after  talk in the bar.

The next morning we met again at breakfast between 8 and 10 hours. We enjoyed the delicious buffet. After breakfast, an information session given by Luc Daenen on Step by Step for ALS. He told about his hike from Santiago to Leuven and the most important and interesting things he had experienced during that trip. After that it was obviously a bit about the charity in Leuven which was organized especially for his return. When Luc Daenen was ready the next information session could start. This time it was about personal future planning (PTP). PTP try to help people together with their partner, children, friends and / or family to think about what they see as a "good life." They also help in making decisions and choices to change things so that the "good life" can be achieved. PTP provides temporary or long-term support, depending on what is needed.

At 12 o'clock it was time for the delicious dinner. Immediately after the lunch another information session followed. This time we were given information about the applications and repayments of various tools.

Just as on Friday we could start again our evening meal at 18:00. And the menu was again delicious. After dinner there was a Quiz. The participants were split into groups and were then given the opportunity to answer questions. While participating was more important than winning  there were still great prizes. We experienced in any case a good time together and we got to know each other again a little better. After the quiz we could choose what we wanted to do it again.

When we woke up the next morning it was Sunday already and we used of the extensive breakfast buffet for one last time and then everyone was free. First everyone needed to clear his room and stowed the luggage safely . Then most of us went for a walk or enjoyed a drink in the bar.

At 12 o'clock everybody returned to the dining room for the last meal in the hotel. After dinner there was the traditional scientific part of the weekend. Several speakers came to bring us up to date on the status.

The speakers were Professor Wim Robberecht UZ Gasthuisberg in Leuven, he talked about the trials Trophos, talampanel and VEGF. Dr. Paul Jenet came to speak. He told about the FPS (Federal Public Service) and what it means for PALS and how to fasten action like applications for parking card, concessions and the awarding of the category (points).

Also Mr. Pierre Breyne came to speak. He’s managing director of the service center Gits and Secretary of ALS DAN association. He came to explain more about the status of the ALS Care Hotel in Middelkerke and our cooperation. Also some explanation on the whom, when and how to use of this ALS care hotel.

After this the weekend ended unfortunately. Everyone had to say goodbye to each other and to the fun, informative weekend.

Throughout the whole weekend the patients could get an indulgence by medical podiatrist and chiropodist Jurewyts Derek.


Translation : Marina