An “inspirational” mum who has supported hundreds of gravely sick children over two decades has been honoured by David Cameron.
Rachely Plancey, who started Camp Simcha from her kitchen table in Golders Green aged just 17, was announced today as a recipient of a Point of Light Award.
Over two decades she and her husband Meir have grown the charity into an organisation providing practical and emotional support to hundred of families with children suffering from cancer and life-threatening illnesses. Last year alone the charity made 2,000 volunteer visits to children and provided almost 1,000 hospital transports with the help of 12 specially-trained family liaison officers.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Through her remarkable vision and determination Rachely has helped thousands and thousands families in their greatest hour of need. Her selfless actions are an inspiration and I am delighted to award Rachely this Point of Light.”
Plancey, the 124th winner of the award, said: “I never thought that all those years ago that Camp Simcha would grow to be such an important part of so many lives. From children struggling with muscular dystrophy to those with cancer our mission is to ensure that no such child, anywhere in the UK, has to suffer without us.
“It is truly humbling to be able to make a big difference to people struggling to come to terms with serious illness and it is a privilege to be recognised today by the Prime Minister for the work we are doing.”
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) October 3, 2014
Melanie Ryan, who was first supported by Camp Simcha when her son Sam, now 22, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia aged six, said: “Though Rachely was a very young woman herself when we first met her, she immediately took our son under her wing. Over the years, Rachely arranged for many volunteers to visit not just our son but his young brother and sister too. Not only playing games, generally talking, giving comfort and confidence, taking them to the park and, above all, generally relieving the tremendous pressure on us as a family.”
Despite the growth of her own family and of the charity, she added, Rachely “still manages to devote her time unselfishly to the charity and is sincerely passionate about each and every child and family that has become part of the Camp Simcha family”.
Also paying tribute was Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer, who said: “Rachely’s work is an inspiration to us all. From a kitchen table in Golders Green to a global charitable network, she has been there all the way. Her kindness has been invaluable to the thousands of people Camp Simcha have helped.”