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 Health  Russia Project #26098

Support Hospices in Moscow

by VERA Hospice Charity Fund Vetted since 2014
Support Hospices in Moscow

Zhenya is 38. At the moment he is staying at the Nekrasovka hospice in Moscow.

In August Zhenya shared his dream with us, which was to celebrate his daughter Lera’s birthday with her. She is 13 years old and she lives at an orphanage in Cheboksary in the Volga region. Her birthday marks the beginning of the fall season in Russia (September 1st).

Cheboksary is Zhenya’s hometown as well, but since he was treated at the Blokhin Cancer Research Center he had to move to Moscow. Before his illness he took care of his daughter all by himself.

What a blessing it must be to have a thinking pattern like that of the VERA Fund volunteers who helped this patient’s dream come true:

It’s 700 kilometers away? Not a problem! One of the volunteers has a comfortable car and one of the doctors at the hospice is willing to accompany our patient 24/7 and make sure he has no pain.

Problems covering the travel fare? None at all, there are people willing to finance them.

Daughter’s birthday? The biggest gift was being able to hug her dad, who gathered all his strength to travel all the way from Moscow to Cheboksary. And naturally a birthday wouldn’t be complete without a teddy bear, flowers and a bracelet that will forever remind Lera of the most important encounter of her life.

No need for hesitation. One must simply act on it, as for some of us there may be no tomorrow.

Many thanks to all who helped with organizing this trip for Lera and Zhenya.

We believe that the smiles on their faces are “for the rest of life”.

Last week the Degunino hospice in Moscow welcomed a new patient, Liliya Ivanovna. She was an opera singer and is an Honored Artist of Russia.

Her son Leonid, an incredible jazz pianist who lives in the US, immediately took a flight home.

He was just on time to see his mother, stay with her, talk to her and give her a hug.

The following day she passed away.

Olga Tereshina, the hospice coordinator, told us the story:

“We were all hoping that we would be able to spend more time with them, but yesterday, while there was a flute and piano concert in the hall, Liliya Ivanovna left us.

Her son was still on his way at that moment, and I was worried that the music might be a little inappropriate and that it can make him even sadder.

But musicians are very special people.

After his mother passed away, we were spending time in the garden and Leonid was telling me about his mother, when suddenly, with tears in his eyes, he said the following:

“The girls were playing really well; mom must have loved it. It’s amazing when you think about it: even when leaving this world, musicians are surrounded by music”.

Friday, the day before the funeral, Leonid organized a concert for the patients, the nurses and the doctors of the hospice in honor of his mother.

“Mom asked me not to play too loudly. I did my best :)”.


These heartwarming stories would never have happened without your help. Thank you!



Our foundation has been spending the average of 151770$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

 01.07.18 through 30.09.18

 Meals – $996

 Financial support to hospice staff – $83787

 Coordinators’ work – $64716

 Other expenses - $2271



*We thank Alexandra Goriounova for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English.

Just imagine: the very center of Moscow, Manezhnaya square, the city festival, and the VERA Fund's pavilion, where visitors get their make-up done and their hair braided, where Nyuta Federmesser uses a full-size dummy to show how to take care of a terminally ill person, where people learn why they should stop fearing hospices. These are not dreams, but reality.

We did have our very own pavilion at the city festival “The Easter Gift” where anyone could not only get their make-up done, but also get to know the Fund's volunteers, try to care for a terminally ill patient under the guidance of Nyuta Federmesser, our founder, and sign up for an introductory meeting for our volunteers. 

  • We had visitors who asked: what is palliative care?
  • Who are volunteers and how much do they get paid?
  • How many hospices does our company have?
  • Therapy dogs and concerts in a hospice - this must be expensive?

It is so cool that we had a chance to answer all these questions.

We also had a chance to explain that, at the last stretch of a life's journey, when one cannot be healed, one can still be helped in a professional manner.

We could explain that volunteers are highly motivated people, which is why they help the Fund free of charge, in their own free time, and in different ways.

We could say that concerts and events which happen in the life of a hospice are free for us and for our patients.

This was an incredible experience for us and a perfect opportunity to tell the public about hospice life, events, and people who turn a hospice into a real home.


The spring and the first summer month have been busy for the Moscow hospices: many holidays were celebrated, dozens of concerts and master classes were held, new flowerbeds were made, and, amidst all that, we still had a chance to sit in the shade of the trees and enjoy summer treats and pleasant conversations.  Last but not least, the Center for Palliative Care saw a first wedding in its history.

Many people dream of saying “I will love you until the day I die”, but very few can actually say that it's true.  Anatoly knows that: he is a patient of our hospice. His wife Olga and he share many things: seven children (they had two of them together), eight years of love for each other, a few cats and dogs, and several chemotherapy treatments. 

This spring they got married in the Moscow Center for Palliative Care where Anatoly is staying. A clerk from the Civil Registry Office came to unite them in marriage, the donors gave them a wedding cake, volunteer musicians helped set the mood for the event, and their friends and children were there to congratulate them and celebrate together.

The couple met when Olga (a charity foundation's director) were looking for potential donors, but instead found someone who needed help. When she met Anatoly, he needed a cancer surgery. Later, they faced a long and complex treatment and remission, when two of their children were born. Recently, the disease returned, and Anatoly needed palliative care.

“If not for palliative care, we wouldn't have come to a conclusion that we need to keep living, get married, and have a celebration. The thing is: what's the point of grieving? We enjoy every new day that comes and think about other things we'd like to do.  We are extremely grateful to the doctors and the whole team for helping us to get back on our feet. They gave us a chance to not think about the difficult part of the disease. Instead, we can focus on the joy: the joy of having each other, loving each other, and living,” says Olga.

One, two, three -- the bride tossed the flowers to the crowd of girls of all ages, among them, patients in wheelchairs, nurses, and volunteers. Of course, later there was champagne, appetizers, dancing, and jazz music.  Anatoly cannot stand on his feet anymore, let alone dance with his wife, but his hands kept moving non-stop, following the music. It does no matter how much time one has left: there is still enough time to do all that we can.



Our foundation has been spending the average of 258791$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

01.03.18 through 30.06.18

Medical equipment – $28663

Meals – $2252

Financial support to hospice staff – $112435

Coordinators’ work – $110027

Other expenses - $5414


*We thank Veronika Demichelis for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English.

How can we make sure that every person gets help they need at the end of their life? We need resources: hospices, palliative care departments, home-based services; we need laws that would protect the interests of the patients; we need doctors and nurses, we need their hands that can ease the pain and ensure that our patients are treated with dignity till the end; we need volunteers and coordinators who can attend to our patients’ needs and provide them with care; we need publications and TV shows about hospice care so that people are not afraid to ask for help when they need it.

We strive to make sure that high-quality care at the end of life is available to all.
Highlights of 2017:

Olga, a hospice patient:
“When at the hospice, I am treated like a human being. I get stabilized so I can continue living for a while longer, enjoy my life and maybe learn something”.

Data highlights

  • A total of 16 coordinators provided for adult and children hospices and palliative care units in Moscow;
  • A total of 1400 events (joy carts, master classes, concerts, picnics and therapy dog visits) organized in Moscow hospices;
  • More than 2,000 volunteers donated 68,000 hours of their time to the fund and different hospices;
  • A total of 415 adult patients received support for their complex issues;
  • A total of 12 regional hospices and palliative care units received support from the fund (in the form of financial aid and resources).

Per Tatyana, the Chief Medical Officer for Palliative Care Center in Moscow, physicians providing palliative care need training on a daily basis. And we are talking not only about the constant need for additional knowledge in various medical fields; they also need to know how to provide social support, and at the same time they need special skills to communicate with patients and their families".

Data highlights

  • Russian and foreign experts provided training in patient care, pain management, communication skills, organizing assistance for severely ill patients to more than 500 medical specialists and social workers from Moscow hospices;
  • 600 regional physicians and nurses received training in palliative care for children;
  • 2990 physicians and patients’ relatives received free books and educational materials on palliative    care.

                        Without you, we cannot move the needle. With you – we can achieve a lot. Thank you!


Our foundation has been spending the average of 261516$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:
01.11.17 through 28.02.18

  • Medical equipment – $48639
  • Meals – $1150
  • Financial support to hospice staff – $106249
  • Coordinators’ work – $96279
  • Other expenses - $9199


*We thank Julia Linkova for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English. 

"Joy cart"
"Joy cart"

For us, this fall was full of milestones. We celebrated the Fund's 11th anniversary and the positive changes in the Moscow hospices, collected Christmas presents, and even made some dreams come true. Our donors and volunteers brought home-made pies, shared crops from their own gardens, and brought concerts, "joy carts", and therapy dogs to the hospices.

As we approached the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, we presented our new communication strategy. For the last 11 years, we have been saying that if one cannot be cured, it does not mean that one cannot be helped. More and more people learned about hospices and realized that they might be less scary than they seem, and that the last hours, days, and months of a person’s life should be free of pain, filth, and humiliation. Now, we’d like to talk more about the importance of life for the rest of one's life. Therefore, we are starting our twelfth year with a new communication concept "Life for the Rest of Life".

In September, for the first time a head nurse became the head of a hospice in Moscow. A leader plays a crucial role. A leader is the first point of contact between our fund and the hospices. We are glad that the Butovo hospice will be managed by someone who saw what happens when the pain syndrome worsens, heard what the patients want, and understands what kind of support the relatives need.

The "Vera" charity fund organized the first conference "Palliative Care for Children", which had international participants and was supported by the "Lighthouse" children's hospice and the "Children's Palliative" charity fund. The conference participants attended lectures and masterclasses of leading Russian and foreign doctors, including one of the most prominent specialists on respiratory support Dr. John Robert Bach from the USA and the Chief of the Division on Pediatric Palliative Care at the Boston Children's Hospital, a speaker of many international conferences, Dr. Joanne Wolfe from the USA. 

The "Vera" charity fund has received two grants!  Now we will be able to develop two projects of major importance - "School of Care" and "Volunteers Help". 

A team of specialists from the "School of Care" will train family members, volunteers, home care providers, and medical staff in the basics of nonmedical care for terminally ill patients. For example, how to turn patients over without hurting them, how to feed them, how to provide all the "private procedures" while preserving their dignity, etc. In the future, it will mean that more people will be able to receive care in the comfort of their own homes. 

The "Volunteers Help" project has been training and coordinating volunteers in the Moscow hospices for many years, and now it will be able to do so much more! 

For example, we will organize more training sessions and meetings on the intricacies of communication with patients, their families, and hospice staff. 

These are only two out of many projects that our fund undertakes. However, we are very happy that we now have most of the funds for a whole year of these projects' operations.

We had a visit by Patch Adams himself! 

If you saw the "Patch Adams" movie with Robin Williams, this movie is about him. Patch is a medical doctor from the US, one of the founders of the hospital clowns' movement, and a writer. 
Patch travels around the world with a team of volunteers to support terminally ill children and adults. 

So there he was, in a patient's room of the Palliative Care Center, singing like Louis Armstrong while a patient was tapping the rhythm on his lap because he had been a drummer in his youth and loved the blues. 

Volunteers of the Degunino hospice came up with the idea of the "Wish Box" where patients can place notes with their wishes. One of them, Maya Vladimirovna, once wrote, "I’d like to meet Nikolay Tsiskaridze". Nobody had the connections to make this happen. But our volunteers wrote a post about this wish on social media, asked to share it, asked for help, searched far and wide, and it happened so that Nikolay Tsiskaridze heard about this. Two days later, he came to the hospice for a visit. And the next morning Maya Vladimirovna was no longer with us. It doesn't matter how many days one has left in his or her life. What matters is how much life there is in each of these days. We are very grateful to everyone who made this meeting a reality.

Thanks to the help of our donors and volunteers, we can proudly say that at the hospice, one can truly live one's life to the full for the rest of his or her life.


Our foundation has been spending the average of 206927$ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

01.09.17 through 30.11.17

  • Medical equipment – $13878
  • Meals – $12153
  • Financial support to hospice staff – $115470
  • Coordinators’ work – $61757
  • Other expenses - $3669


*We thank Veronika Demichelis for her generous help with rendering this text from Russian into English.

Patch Adams
Patch Adams
"School of Care"
"School of Care"
Celebrating hospice workers
Celebrating hospice workers

This year summer in Moscow was unusually cold and rainy, but we tried to make the best of every sunny day. At Degunino district hospice volunteers painted the benches in the garden. At Rostokino they brought rare plants for the hospice garden: bergenias, hydrangeas, Korean fir and many others. They even developed a real planting plan initiated by volunteer landscape designer Natalia.

In June all Moscow hospices celebrated the Day of care providers. Our coordinators and volunteers organized beautiful holiday at every hospice of Moscow. The patients enjoyed the holiday concerts and tasty treats, and the event was very important to the staff. When our coordinator congratulated doctors and nurses and told them kind words thanking them for their titanic work, they burst into tears because for the first time in feefteen years of their hospice work someone celebrated their efforts and input.

Life of Zelenograd hospice is full of events. Our coordinator has been busy trying to involve the local community – now this hospice already has volunteers who regularly bring flowers from their gardens, bake pies for the patients and demonstrate their talents at concerts. One of the patients said it felt more like maternal home than hospice here because here of all the love around. 

At Rostokino hospice patient Tamara and her husband celebrated sixty-fourth wedding anniversary surrounded by the volunteers, coordinators, nurses. Two years after they met they had been writing each other letters, and in the summer met on holiday in Chisinau. And when the correspondence stopped and they were unable to agree on the next meeting. Vladimir came to Chisinau and found out that Tamara was in Kiev. Without thinking, he went to Kiev. A week later they decided to get married — and since that day they never parted. Now Tamara is in hospice and Vladimir is near her, like all the years before that.

At Degunino hospice a new tradition and became very popular among the patients. That is holding poetic evenings. Last time professional reciter and actress took part.

As you can see, this summer at Moscow hospices was full of events and now we’re preparing for autumn and hoping tto have a few more sunny days for picnics and outdoor walking.

Our foundation has been spending the average of 149775,89 $ to cover for the following needs of Moscow hospices:

01.07.17 through 31.08.17

Medical equipment – $14881

Meals – $746

Personal care items – $1680

Financial support to hospice staff – $89984

Coordinators’ work – $40540

Other expenses - $1946

Man & Wife - 64 years together
Man & Wife - 64 years together

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Organization Information

VERA Hospice Charity Fund

Location: Moscow - Russia
Website: http:/​/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Maria Bakhtina
Moscow, Moscow Russia
$4,228 raised of $75,079 goal
85 donations
$70,851 to go
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