Bucharest’s “Dr. Al. Trestioreanu” Oncology Institute inaugurated on Tuesday its Medical Oncology Ward No. 2, renovated by Romania’s National Cathedral Volunteers. In record time – only 60 days – they provided over 200,000-Euros refurbishing works.
His Eminence Varlaam of Ploiești, Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop, was Patriarch Daniel’s delegate to the event.
Among the participants were Archimandrite Ciprian Grădinaru from the National Cathedral Chapel, Dr. Bogdan Cosmin Tănase, Manager of the Bucharest Oncology Institute, and Dr. Alexandru Blidaru, Chief of Oncological Surgery II at the institute.
The Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop transmitted a blessing and congratulations on behalf of the Patriarch of Romania. His Eminence said His Beatitude prayed that God may offer strength and inspiration to the medical staff and to all who served the oncology patients.
Patriarch Daniel sent a word of blessing and encouragement to the patients as well, wishing them to successfully overcome their sickness.
“We especially congratulate all the involved volunteers. This volunteer team has a prolific activity in the medical field,” added the hierarch.
His Eminence also spoke of the spiritual support the Church offers to patients. “The permanent presence of the priest who activates in the institute is very much appreciated and very useful to the people who come here with a lot of anxiety and fear,” said His Eminence Varlaam of Ploiești.
Archimandrite Ciprian Grădinaru, the spiritual guide of the National Cathedral Volunteers, said that the renovation of the ward “is a spiritual work of healing by St. Nectarios”.
“Before the pandemic, I would come here with the volunteers once in a month and speak to every patient, starting on the seventh floor and ending on the ground floor, where the children were. I would stay by each bed and speak to the patients,” he added.
“Each of them had something on their mind because every man has a story and a destiny. That was the day we dedicated to the cancer patients. This is how we understood their needs and the needs of the institute. This is how we have got involved,” recounted the archimandrite.
“In addition to the oncology treatment, the accommodation conditions are very important for the patient’s moral support. It is our moral duty as Christians and as a Church to be where the suffering and sickness are, to be where we are needed,” added Archimandrite Ciprian Grădinaru.
“This helping hand from the Romanian Patriarchate, through its volunteers, is very important to us,” declared Dr. Bogdan Cosmin Tănase, the institute’s manager.
The medical institution is relatively new, he said, but “1989 standards no longer meet today’s requirements. Patients come here to get treatment and they need to be in a friendly environment”. The manager appreciated the renovation has been made at very high standards.
“It looks wonderful. I know what it means for an oncology patient to be accommodated in such luminous conditions. The help from the Church is fantastic,” added Dr. Alexandru Blidaru, Chief of Oncological Surgery II.
He spoke of the complex needs of these patients: in addition to a multidisciplinary team, a nutritionist, a psychologist and a priest are just as important.
“Spiritual support plays a major role, and when it is accompanied by substantial material support, it is even more wonderful,” concluded the surgeon.
The Medical Oncology Ward treats 25,000 patients annually. It has 62 beds, including for palliative care and it receives the most difficult cases in the country.
The inauguration date was chosen to coincide with the feast of St. Nectarios of Aegina, the protector of cancer patients.
Romania’s National Cathedral Volunteers activate under the auspices of the National Cathedral Chapel.
They get spiritual advice from Archimandrite Ciprian Grădinaru and are coordinated by Dan Prună. The volunteers get involved in numerous charity acts, especially in the Archdiocese of Bucharest. Many of the support interventions consist of medical care or support for medical institutions.