The Puttinu Cares Cancer Support Group was set up in 2002 and began from an idea and a wish to offer a holistic approach of care for families who have children suffering from cancer. The founders of Puttinu Cares were Dr. Victor Calvagna and Mr.Rennie Zerafa.
Puttinu is a character created by Mt. Philip Farrugia Randon. He is an angel sent from heaven to take care of Toninu, a Maltese boy.
The first project of the group was to bring to life the dull children’s ward in the old St.Luke’s Hospital. With the help of volunteers and sponsors the ward was brightened up with vivacious colours and fun pictures for the children.
An annual Summer BBQ is held for the children and their families as well as a Christmas party where presents are given out to all the children. These activates have become a yearly event in Puttinu’s calendar. Moreover other smaller activities are held throughout the year.
Puttinu relies on sponsors and the public’s help to obtain funds for such activities. Several fundraising activities are done throughout the year but the biggest event is the Football Marathon, which last year managed to cash in Lm70,000!!
“Challenge with a smile” was another fund raising activity organised by a group of people willing to help Puttinu. It involved a day of cycling all over Malta, canoeing to Comino, swimming to Gozo and a final run up to Rabat! What a challenge!!!!!!!
“Maratona tal-Habs” was an activity organised by the Corradino wardens to help Puttinu.
Whoever walks through the doors of Rainbow ward in Mater Dei, which is the children’s oncology ward, can be sure that the Puttinu team as well as all the staff there will help them and guide them in any way they can get through this difficult period. The support group offers guidance for parents, helps them deal with the ordeal ahead and gives them hope about the future. The team gets to know the families – their likes and dislikes, weaknesses and strengths, and aims to treat each family as an individual team with individual needs. They also offers help when families need to go abroad for any kind of medical reason, be it treatment or other care.
They help with accommodation and other expenses. Flats were being rented in the UK for these families; however, the Puttinu team has taken on another great challenge. It is in the process of purchasing its own house in Sutton UK, very close to the Royal Marsden Hospital where most families go to. These are 3 flats which can house 6 families. A project which will surely aid these families in these circumstances.