Nora is 5 years old and is a patient of Finnish Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome. This condition creates a malfunction of the kidneys causing to eliminate certain substances that Nora needs in order to live and grow. For the past three years, has been under a hemodialysis treatment, which involves substitution the kidneys’ functions through a machine that filters the blood in their stead.
Through this treatment, Nora will be able to grow up until she is capable of receiving a kidney from her mother. However, to go through the treatment, Nora and her family had to move from their hometown in Burgos yo Madrid, where they have spent most of their time at the hospital.
Nora has been a brave patient during the time she has spent in Madrid. Always joyful and willing to overcome her illness, she has made the best of her time at the hospital and has made many new friends who love her and share her strength to get better.
Nora’s NUPAilusión took place to celebrate that there is, at last, an alternative treatment for Nora: the peritoneal dialysis. This treatment does the same job as the hemodialysis, but allows Nora to stay at home, in Burgos, to attend school more regularly, and to spend less time at the hospital.
On the day of her visit to the Zoo de Madrid, Nora arrived with a blanket covering her eyes so that she would have no idea about where she was going. In the meantime, her friends from the hopsital were waiting for her with a big sign that red “We will miss you” and a very special letter that she picked from a huge stuffed dog’s neck.
The letter had a message from all her friends, who thanked her for her strength, her courage and her good attitude, which have also touched all those who have shared with her the time she has spent in Madrid. Her parents were very moved and Nora was so nervous that she didn’t know what she had to do next.
Nora couldn’t believe that she was at the Zoo when she realized it, and she was very keen on enjoying the surprise with her friends. They all walked through the Zoo, looking closely at every animal they found on their way and taking pictures with them. Nora was very impressed by the birds of prey during the exhibition; it was the first time that Nora and her friends had see anything like that.
Nora had so much energy and was so willing o discover everything the Zoo has to offer, that she became impatient during the short stop they made to have a snack… she was determined not to miss a thing! The dolphin exhibition was another of her favorite experiences. All the children were amazed by all the different things these extremely intellingent animals can do.
During the video about the dolphins’ voluntary behavior for medical monitoring, all the children in the group could empathize with the animals, who have to learn to let the veterinarians do their work so that they can perform analysis. They had fun comparing their own techniques to stay calm when a doctor draws blood from them.
Nora’s excitement continued after leaving the Zoo. That night she was unable to sleep and keep telling her mother: “Mum, this surprise was so cool!”. Her visit to the Zoo marks the end of a part of Nora’s life that has given her strength and willingness to face the next phase: staying at home for longer periods of time, even if the road is still long until she can get her transplant.
At the Parques Reunidos Foundation and the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid we are grateful to other foundations and organizations like NUPA, who continue to trust us to create these experiences and make dreams and wishes come true for so many children who are facing serious illnesses, who practically live at the hospital. These experiences give them the strength they need to carry on fighting.