During stress or post-traumatic stress glucocorticoids are released in children's brains. These have potential neurotoxic effects on the developing brain and may cause hippocampal damage. Levels of norepinephrine and cortisol, the stress hormone, are high. 
For children to feel secure, loved and to heal from stress or trauma they must be reminded of a trauma and be allowed to rage, laugh, cry and tremble. Cortisol is released through tears.

It is believed that the brain’s increase in opioid production  can lead to temperamental manifestations or individual characteristics such as playful and sociable behaviour. By the same token, playful and sociable behaviour can lead to an increase in opioid production.



This charity organization is geared towards helping ill, disabled and abused children and young people through narrative, music, art and play therapy.  It primarily aims to enrich these children’s lives; to breathe hope into broken children’s lives. It is our mission to hear, see and understand these children and to make them realize that they are valued as people and that their stories are meaningful. These services will be offered to children and young people privately and at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in the Renal and Diabetic Units. The project is in the process of becoming an NPO and PBO.

This organization was born from my book, "The Dandelion Diary - the Tricky Art of Walking", the story of my struggle as a child and young girl to come to terms with Friedreich's Ataxia, a neuromuscular disorder. After many years of physical and psychological suffering, this book was born.

Earlier this year, funds were raised to buy a new wheelchair. The kindness and generosity of people helped to inspire me to create this organization. A few years after my book was written, I came to the realization that my suffering does not have to be in vain. I found that I had alot of understanding and compassion for children and young people in a similar position and started doing voluntary work at the Red Cross Children's Hospital. My newly-found attitude or perception showed me that my own suffering was worthwhile and had a purpose. I started to perceive my own suffering as an initiatory experience. The culmination of this was the birth of:


The project is run by a multidisciplinary team of facilitators, teachers, psychologists and a social worker who are dedicated to alleviating the suffering of these children and to improving the quality of their lives.


The following philosophy forms a background to the work:

'Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.' 

It might be helpful to be thankful for every moment and every experience in their perfection, even if it means being grateful for root canal treatment or an annoying broken wheelchair! We might affirm to ourselves a few things that may give energy on a daily basis and help us to rise above the  difficulty.Telling ourselves that a particular heavy moment too shall pass and that things will be easier, can make life a little easier. It might be helpful to be kind and gentle to ourselves and to remind ourselves that we mostly try to do the best with the knowledge and understanding that we have, that it is our birthright to be here, that we are more than enough, that things are unfolding as they should -even when the relationship, washing machine, computer, etc, etc break all at once; or despite seeing a drowned fly elegantly floating in the newly bought bottle of Cabernet. 

Things will come to us in the right time and space; we are hugely loved, even if our loved ones are ratty to us; we have the capacity to give and receive love freely - despite sometimes feeling like strangling a particularly irritating fellow human; we are allowed to always speak our specific truths openly and freely; we continue to have more insight, understanding and wisdom on a daily basis and we are complete and perfect just as we are.

Self-pity can become a vicious cycle and things could always, let's make that normally, be worse and it helps not to ask the question: "Why me?", but rather "why not me?"

Our freedom and happiness seem to lie in our ability to select our thoughts and I think it is important to keep ourselves close to what makes us feel good, warm and will make us laugh and smile. Admittedly, this is easier when slowly sipping a mojito or, preferably authentic French champagne, at a luxurious spa sanctuary. But unadulterated pleasures are not always close at hand. Sometimes it is enough to merely think: "I will be okay...".

I hope and wishf for all to go through life with as much ease and lightness as possible, especially children with illness and disabilty.  I tell myself that things are getting better and better every day and I thank God for all the love and beauty in  life.

Excerpt from "The Dandelion Diary":

"I felt lighter and had a first glimpse of the sun peeping over the shoulder of the hill. My mind was starting to become less nebulous and I thought of staking a claim to my own life. I wanted to make choices myself.Yes, I was penned up within the walls of ataxia. That was an unavoidable reality. But I could choose to watch the new day's sun emerging, or to suffocate in my shallow breath; I had the right to make that choice myself..."