Life’s pretty good for me, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to give a little bit back. So I started a care centre for children with cerebral palsy in Chisinau Moldova, initially using royalties from my book Playing the Moldovans At Tennis. Watch my Ted Talk here. Subsequently I made a feature film to further raise funds.
The Tony Hawks Centre, Moldova
Help Raise $150,000 For the Tony Hawks Centre, Chisinau
Picture the scene. I’m in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, half way through my bizarre quest to try and beat the entire Moldovan national football team at tennis. Every day I witness another example of the poverty and hardship that so many Moldovans have to undergo. It’s a country with huge economic difficulties, and one that the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten about. In its rush to reject communism and embrace the free market, huge swathes of the population have been forgotten about, and the safety net of any kind of social welfare seems to has more or less vanished.
People on the streets are looking gloomy and downhearted, and the feeling was starting to rub of on me. That was – until I decided to do something about it. I knew that I was going to return to Britain and write a book about my experiences and it seemed wrong to me that I should profit form this without giving anything back. One night, as I lay in bed, contemplating the plight of so many of the people, I decided that I would donate half the royalties from the book to a trust fund for Moldova.
Thankfully the book sold well enough for us to be able to do something constructive with the money. In August 2000 we opened The Hippocrates Children’s Centre (now called The Tony Hawks Centre), run by Diana Covalciuc, the doctor with whom I’d lodged during my Moldovan sojourn. By channeling the money through the charity Aid to Russia and the Republics (Now called Child Aid, www.childaidrr.org.uk ) who were experienced in aid in this part of the world, we were able to ensure that every penny went to the centre.
“To improve the health of children with chronic conditions who are living in socially vulnerable families”.
The centre accomplishes its mission by providing free consultations and medical rehabilitation services to children from birth up to the age of 15, who have chronic illnesses of the neuro-muscular, cardio-vascular or respiratory system, being previously diagnosed in a specialized medical institution.
One branch of this mission is teaching parents and caretakers of children with chronic conditions to help their child live a more comprehensive life and integrate into the society.” It definitely does this. I know because I’ve been to visit it four times now. Every year it gets better and I am so proud that such a daft bet with my mate Arthur. However, we are at a crossroads now. The need for the centre to grow is overwhelming. Moldovan politicians are waking up to the fact that this kind of healthcare should be provided by the state – but a walk around the Children’s Hospital in Chisinau will reveal just how much money needs to be spent elsewhere – and the government just doesn’t have the money.
Moldova faces yet more economic challenges as President Putin had announced that Russia will stop buying Moldovan wine – an action viewed by many to be a ‘punishment’ for Moldova looking towards Western Europe for its political allegiances) We need to move to larger premises. The cost of property in central Chisinau has soared in the last decade as Western businesses have moved in and inflated the prices. So we need to raise a substantial amount of money to purchase a building and convert it into the new enlarged care centre. In fact: WE NEED TO RAISE $150,000. Why not click on the link here and give £1? Or $1 – or whatever. If you’ve had some fun on the site – then this could be a little way of ‘giving something back.’
How You Can Help
We need your help to continue our work as we have costs related to infrastructure, staff, and a waiting list of young children who desperately need to be looked after.
With just a simple monthly donation of a few pounds or a one-off payment, we can do so much more.
You can give as little or as much as you can here. Donate today by clicking on the button below.
Every donation, no matter how small, goes to the charity
Donate whatever you feel you can afford, and you can download my Guide to Laughter for free.
Feeling generous? A GBP100 per year commitment will get a personally signed Birthday Card on your birthday – you have to tell me your birthday though!
Please donate whatever you can. The link below will process your generosity via my registered charity. All payment and charity updates will be handled directly by the team via email or telephone.
More About the Centre and its Work
To provide medical recovery services to children with chronic conditions by means of non-invasive, low-cost recovery methods such as kinesiotherapy, occupational therapy, massage, electrotherapy, orthotisation and other means; – To provide parents with educational services in regard to selection of efficient recovery and treatment methods adequate for their child/children; – To develop and disseminate health promotional and educational leaflets for parents and caregivers of children with chronic diseases. Key principles…
The Tony Hawks Centre has adopted a unique approach respecting the following principles:
1) Service accessibility based on the children’s needs;
2) Information and education of parents and caregivers of children with chronic illnesses;
3) Promotion of the respect for persons with physical problems;
4) Reconnaissance of the fact that a person with a physical problem is not having a disease, and that the medical approach applied in many cases in not always an adequate one;
5) Promotion and facilitation of decision autonomy for persons with physical problems;
6) Proximity of the recovery services.
What we do…
Since the opening of the centre, 90 children (from the capital as well as from the entire republic) per year were provided services. These children received treatment for a range of illnesses, including: malformations of the central nervous system; cerebral motor infirmity; neuro-muscular disorders; scoliosis; bronchial asthma; chronic bronchitis; and congenital heart disease. Services provided to these children have included: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, electrotherapy, splinting, casting, orthosis, paediatric and other specialists’ services (such as orthopedist, neurologist, surgeon, dentist) when necessary. Who benefits…
Children from the ages of 0 to 15 years who suffer from chronic neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory ailments who have been diagnosed in a state medical institution. Parent education In addition, the centre’s staff works with parents and with other caregivers of the children, in order to inform them and make them understand the specifics of their children disorders and teach them how to help their child. Many education materials have been developed and distributed. These materials facilitate the process of taking care of the child during rehabilitation and at home.
– Tony Hawks for Moldovan children
– Physical therapy help at home
– Popularising physical therapy methods of treatment in children with locomotion disabilities
– Physical therapy Facilities in schools and kindergartens
By providing direct services to beneficiaries and opening Physiotherapy services in schools and kindergartens both in rural and urban areas, the Hippocrates Centre promotes a policy facilitating the integration of children with chronic illnesses into existent community children’s collectives. As the accessibility of recovery services is one of main principles for the Hippocrates Centre’s activity, it leads to significant augmentation of the number of children preferring physical recovery, as an effective and safe recovery method.
Tennis For Free
I co-founded Tennis For Free back in 2004 to address the barriers to participation in Tennis (i.e. court charges) and to bring the benefits of playing tennis and becoming actively engaged in sport to as many young people and families as possible – particularly those from under-privileged backgrounds.
We have profiled every free public tennis court in the country on the Tennis For Free website and also run FREE weekly coach led sessions for children, young people and adults, showing that tennis is a game that can be played by and benefit everyone, regardless of ability or social background.
Tennis For Free works in partnership with local schools, tennis clubs and local authorities throughout the UK, providing free access to community tennis courts, free coach led group tennis sessions and free usage of equipment.
In 2004 there were 30,000 public park tennis courts in the UK and today there are less than 10,000*. We aim to salvage and create free ‘walk on and play’ facilities on as many of these courts as possible. By driving significant activity to public park courts, we’re confident that councils will not destroy them.
Tennis For Free Charity Registered in England (charity number 1103765)
55 Thornhill Square, London,
020 7609 9026 (Rivertrade Offices) www.tennisforfree.com