Liz Axten, Registered General Nurse at Westmorland General Hospital, has volunteered her time over the past four years to supervise visits from children, from Belarus.
According to charity Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, doctors in Belarus say that recuperative holidays away from their homeland boosts the children’s immune systems for at least two years, helping them to resist, or recover from, serious illness.
In the summer, when the dust causes radiation levels to rise, it is important for as many children as possible to leave their contaminated homeland for a few weeks of fresh air and clean food. It can also significantly reduce the amount of radioactive caesium which has built up in a child’s body.
Belarus received over 70% of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in April 1986.
Earlier this month Liz took 12 children, aged 10-13 years old, from Brahin, Belarus, to Great Tower Scout Activity Centre in Windermere. There they completed activities including rock climbing, high ropes and bouldering.
Liz, who is a cub leader for Holme Scout Group, said: “It’s very fulfilling seeing the children flourish while they are here and that’s why I continue to volunteer my time as I think it’s a very worthy cause.”
The children stayed with families in Lancashire and Cumbria as part of a month’s recuperation break organised by Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and Red Rose link Chris Rylie based in Kirkham, Lancashire. They visited a dentist and optician during their stay and took part in a variety of outdoor activities.
David Walker, Medical Director, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s inspiring to see one of our staff members so dedicated to such a good cause.”
Chernobyl Children’s Life Line was founded in 1991. To find out more visit http://www.ccll.org.uk/ho/