Report contact weekend 2015
During the sunny summer months the last details were completed for the organization of the contact weekend in Middelkerke: planning activities, registering applications and establishing contacts to create an unforgettable weekend. In the morning of Friday, September 4th, the many volunteers of the ALS League were already busy in the special care centre Middelpunt to welcome pALS and their mentors a short while later. The ALS League addresses special thanks to the Loterie Nationale, who made this weekend possible, and Annemie Van de Winkel for the little extras.
Beginning of the long-awaited weekend
The first guests arrived just before 1 PM. The volunteers guided them to the reception hall, rolled (or carried) their luggage to the rooms, helped the nursing staff filling in their care necessities and jotted down the activities they wanted to participate in. Due to rainy weather and the fresh sea air the restaurant quickly filled up with pALS for a happy reunion or getting acquainted, combined with an drink.
Barbecue and performance of Mong and his musicians
Once everyone was settled in, we started off with the traditional group photo. This year all pALS, mentors and volunteers placed their hands on their hearts, as a way of showing their gratitude towards everyone who contributed to the ALS research in the past year. Next, the ALS League officially welcomed everyone to the contact weekend that began with a delicious barbecue. The cooking team of Middelpunt had put together an extensive menu – soup, starter, main course ánd dessert. Our ambassador Mong and his Vieze Gasten also feasted on the barbecue, after which they stole the show during their performance. Fun stories and songs all evening!
All about relaxation
This year the contact weekend focused on relaxation. Therapies, pedicures and Parker baths were continuously offered. Patients could entirely relax and be pampered. The ALS League also had a surprise in store: a ride by the shore and through the villages with horse and carriage. The weather wasn't optimal with every ride, but that didn't subdue the excitement! There was laughter and enjoyment, as they enjoyed each other and the coastal landscape.
Movie night with a surprise
In the evening we were once again culinary pampered by the cooking team of Middelpunt. This was then followed by a choice between two movies. In the reception hall downstairs The Theory of Everything was played, the Oscar awarded movie about Stephen Hawking's life, the world famous astrophysicist who has been living with ALS for over 50 years. The other movie, You're not you, was shown upstairs in the lounge and tells the fictional life story of a young woman who gets diagnosed with ALS. Two movies with top actors Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Hilary Swank and Emily Rossum. And as it should be in a movie theater, the viewers were treated to ice cream during the break!
Info moment ALS Care Project & FOD
Sunday morning Mia Honinckx from the FOD came down to Middelpunt to answer every question pALS had such as about the blue parking card, procedure requests, subsidies and the prospective new structure.
Astrid Janssens from KU Leuven was also present in an information booth and to hold a short presentation about the ALS Care Project. Are you interested in joining this project, then you can find more information on the following website: ALS.be/ALS-CarE
After lunch it was already time to say goodbye. Tired but satisfied we can look back on 3 pleasing days. Thank you for being there! The ALS League looks forward to welcoming you again next year in Middelpunt!
All the photos and the video report of the contact weekend can be found on ALS.be/Contactweekend-2015
Translation : Sara De Roy