Imagine a space where families can feel real companionship. And now, imagine no more.
"Exercise sessions are very social: they help kids meet kids from other hospital rooms; to make friends; to get together to play...and in the end this really lifts their spirits. What's more, the next day they feel much, much better."
"Their bodies end up really debilitated after so much medication and chemo. That's why, as a parent, when you leave the hospital, you really appreciate all those exercise sessions they had."
Lorena's mom, Raquel, 41
"Exercising, for them, is almost like being at home, given the serious condition they're in, because they improve in many respects: psychologically, physically, and emotionally."
"A hospital bed can swallow you up. And more so during those illnesses that require long stays. That's why it's important to support therapies and initiatives like this, which have helped us tremendously."
Lorena's dad, Dani, 43
"I remember I was 15 and I was taken to a room where there were doctors, and nurses, and a psychologist, and my parents...and every one of them had a serious look on their faces. They explained the illness to me, and what the treatment was going to be, the stay in the hospital, and the side-effects. My only question was: Can I play football?"
"I was a shy and insecure kid. I was scared. It was a moment when your body is changing and everything revolves around the image you project. The illness radically changed me. When, at 15, something like this happens to you, you grow up fast. When you start the process...the chemo and treatments...you realize what's important. The best part of yourself is not your body. The best part of yourself is the people who support and love you. Your family and your friends. They help you feel less sick. Kids who go through this just want to have a normal life, a normal routine, and normal activities."
"Without physical exercise it would be hard for me to handle my life. Sports help us discover values and help as grow as people. Sacrifice, discipline, making an effort...all these have a hugely positive influence."
Victor, survivor, 33.
"The benefits of physical exercise for children are real, because I've seen it with my son. A physical therapist who has worked daily with him has shown us Leo will need to exercise even after leaving the hospital."
"Chemo does a lot of damage. It's important not to ignore their physical health and strength. Kids don't understand what's going on. They just want to jump around and play. Nothing stops them. They're fearless. And together we should help them keep up their physical exuberance."
Leo's mom, Cristina, 41
"I think it's been essential. The joy he's felt...the playing. Between the third cycle and the transplant he was able to affirm the recovery in his feet."
"It would be ideal if sports and playing could be routine and be set up as part of the treatment."
"And I see exercise closely related to nutrition. If you're in bed, and not moving at all, your body doesn't require anything. On the other hand, after exercising they eat more. They feel like eating more."
Rubén's mom, Manuela, 48
"I think it's vital for them. My daughter wants to play, and dance, and skate. Apart from helping them not think about their illness, it makes them more active, and they spend their days just like any other child."
"If they don't exercise it's almost as if they're sicker than they really are. They lose mobility, they're not active...they get left behind."
"It's true that kids can entertain themselves with a tablet, but that just lasts a short while and just doesn't compare to the benefits of getting together with other kids to play basketball or something."
Alejandra's dad, Fran, 43
"Abril was diagnosed with leukemia when she was two and a half years old. She's now three and a half and in the intensive phase of the process, in her last re-induction."
"I think during the maintenance period we'll see a change in her motor skills. Abril is at high risk and we've had two rest periods between re-inductions and it's then you can really notice her motor skills improve."
"Physical stimulus is really necessary because just when she was diagnosed she was beginning to learn to run and jump, and go up stairs all alone, but she's stopped doing those things. As soon as she can she'll need to re-learn all those activities. Now she's at the age when you can see she craves physical activity, like dancing and playing tag and hide-&-seek...but she's literally not able to."
"Parents of children like Abril, who we've befriended because we have these cases of childhood cancer in common, have confirmed the need for physical therapists and physical stimulus."
"We try to get her active when she's feeling ok, but now with so much medication she only wants to lie down. If physical activity were included in the treatment protocol, Abril would get the professional attention that meets her needs."
Abril's mom, Rosa Marti, 35