It’s the news all parents dread. Your child is sick. Really, really sick. You pray, you hope, you research until your brain feels like it might explode. But the diagnosis is clear.
In 2012, Texan mother Lesli Berggren received devastating news about her 13-year-old son, Nils, who was found to be suffering from a rare form of lymphoma stage 4 cancer. Following 18 months of treatment in Singapore and the US, Nils was cured of cancer at the National University Hospital Singapore. However a few months later, owing to complications resulting from his stem cell transplant, Nils tragically passed away in 2014, leaving behind his twin sister Claire.
Even during the most difficult stages of his treatment, Nils was mindful of the suffering of others and would do all he could to help children he felt were having a much harder time than he, encouraging them to ‘never give up.’ He wrote letters to his family and friends, asking for their prayers and strength, signing off each one ‘Love, Nils.’ In 2017, in honor of her courageous son, Lesli created LOVE, NILS, a registered non-profit seeking charity status, to offer hope and support to children with cancer in Singapore, regardless of nationality.
Among LOVE, NILS’ primary efforts is the provision of patient navigators. These guides help parents and carers find their way through the healthcare system and the options available to them; encouraging and empowering, taking the children and their families through every step of the journey. LOVE, NILS also helps families who have traveled to Singapore for treatment to find accommodation close to their child’s hospital.
During cancer treatment, much emphasis is placed on medical treatment. LOVE, NILS provides integrative therapy, which helps children deal with feelings of isolation, pain and loss of hope through emotional support. Qualified practitioners help children through complementary, holistic therapies, ranging from nutritional advice, yoga and art to physical and occupational therapy, pain management and spiritual support.
LOVE, NILS also provides opportunities for these children to be, simply, children. Lesli reaches out to celebrities stopping off in Singapore, inviting them to visit children in hospital. In May, they gave 70 tickets for children to see Harry Styles in concert. Through toy drives and donations, they are able to provide children with a toy shopping-style experience in hospital, as they select a toy from the range of donated options. Also in May, they were able to give toys to children with cancer at KK Women and Children’s Hospital, accompanied by the 501st Legion Star Wars team and ‘Miss R2-KT,’ a hand-built robot in the style of a female Star Wars R2-D2 droid.
Find out more at www.lovenils.org
The American Association of Singapore (AAS) will be supporting LOVE, NILS at our annual 4th of July Celebration through a raffle. We encourage attendees to purchase tickets and would welcome any support by way of family focused prize donations. Please contact Shu at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Photo courtesy of LOVE, NILS