A hug, or a cuddle, says the president of the Aladina Foundation, Paco Arango, is the best show of affection that we can give away. This affection can also be reflected in concrete actions, initiatives to change what surrounds us: with this objective the campaign A hug for the children’s ICU at the Infant Jesus Hospital in Madrid was created.

The Aladina Foundation helps to encourage children who are admitted in the ICU.
Fernando

A new ICU with lots of magic

The Aladina Foundation owes its name to the children’s television series ¡Ala ... Dina!, created by its founder - the director, scriptwriter and producer Paco Arango. Paco created the foundation more than 10 years ago with the aim of providing comprehensive support to children and adolescents with cancer and their relatives in different hospitals in Spain. "We offer both emotional and psychological as well as material support, with the creation of unique spaces for children, the Aladina Chambers, or with financial aid for families without resources and with sick children," explains Paco. "We also developed special projects such as the refurb of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Hospital Universitario Infantil Niño Jesús in Madrid, and the opening of the Maktub Center for bone marrow transplants, in the same hospital, which opened in February 2013."

Most of the children with cancer in Spain are treated at the ICU in Madrid hospital. Every year 800 seriously ill children are admitted here, and their stay can last up to one month. More than enough reasons to get better facilities: "The ICU needed a hug and, with a budget of 1.5 million euros, will have 14 beds with robotic arms, 5 isolation boxes, natural light, acoustic comfort and a rest room for the medical staff, "says Paco.

A wonderful week at Amazon

Paco's imagination has no limits. Funding for the Maktub Center came from the benefits received by the movie of the same name. Maktub is an Arabic word that refers to the importance of destiny. What warriors, or Aladinos, as Paco likes to call the children and youth who participate in the Foundation’s activities, provide is hugs. Personalities from the worlds of sport, music, film and fashion hugged the children to raise public awareness of the campaign and encourage everyone to collaborate.

"We were very excited to receive Amazon’s call to join the campaign. We need the affection and help of everyone," explains Paco. The Amazon Logistics Center in San Fernando de Henares (Madrid) became a place of magic from November 7th to 13th, 2016, promoting the campaign and increasing awareness and fundraising when workers made dreams come true with thousands of hugs, their own contribution to the comprehensive reform of the ICU.

For every hug shared by employees, Amazon donated one Euro to the project. "In addition, having a presence on the Amazon.es website allows us to share our initiative and encourage all its customers to give us a hug," adds Paco.

In addition, to its financial support to the Aladina campaign Amazon also donated 25 Kindles and an eBook gift voucher for €1000. "In the hospital, parents and children have a lot of free time, and reading is one of the most common distractions. Likewise, teachers at the public school for patients at the hospital can also take advantage of Kindles," explains the founder of Aladina.

Meet Fer, hug ambassador

"How easy is it to get lost here, right?!" says Fernando, Fer to his friends. Nine years old, a former leukemia patient and a member of the Foundation, Fer supports the ICU refurb campaign for the hospital where he has spent many days.

And he does it by dedicating an afternoon to visit Amazon and distribute hugs to the employees. "The Aladina Foundation helps to encourage the children who are in the hospital, playing with them and dressing up for Carnival, and now I want to get a new, more modern ICU for the hospital." Watch the video to see Fer’s day at the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Madrid and learn more about the project.

Contributing to the ICU refurb is simple: you can make a donation of €1.20 by sending a text with the word achuchón to 28014 from Spain, or visit the website to make a more substantial donation. There are many other ways to get involved in Aladina's projects: through volunteering, membership fees or even buying any of the solidarity products they sell, from T-shirts or mugs to bracelets. And, of course, hugging!