How further?
During my previous blog, it was the time when we all thought that after being at home for only a few weeks, everything would start-up again, the corona virus would die, public life would revive and everything would start again as usual. We set new dates for events and schools to open again. That have turned out to be different. Nobody knows how it will go. It is going well with the “numbers”, but relaxing measures is difficult, because you can still get sick just as easily. Schools are opening again, but how? Everyone is looking.

Initiatives for a Bus for Tim
Due to the corona virus and all the measures around it, all iniatives for a bus for Tim have been canceled. The only thing that is still running are the empty bottle deposit projects. But, you can also tank your car for Tim at the Esso van der Geest on the Kanaalweg in Ter Aar (NL). With the tank-and-care iniative, one cent is donated by Esso to a charity with every liter of fuel.

The following empty bottle deposit campaigns were conducted in March at these supermarkets: Albert Heijn in Oegstgeest, Albert Heijn in Hillegom, Albert Heijn in Amstelveen and Albert Heijn de Herenhof in Alphen aan den Rijn. In April these were: Jumbo in Nieuwkoop, Jumbo St. Jacobslaan in Nijmegen, Jumbo in Baarle-Nassau and Albert Heijn in Amstelveen. Not only supermarket in our neighbourhood, but also in places in the other side of our country!

Nice to say is that the Albert Heijn in Oegstgeest is very close to Tim’s school in Leiden. A huge amount of 359 euros was collected there. Despite the fact that the Albert Heijn in Hillegom is a bit further away from us, it is great to see that a very nice amount has also been collected there, namely 327 euros.

Albert Heijn in the Herenhof in Alphen aan den Rijn has raised even 810 euros over the months of February and March. Storemanager Jeroen promised us that he will do his upmost best to find a new month to start a new collection campaign. Awesome!

At the Jumbo in Nieuwkoop, more than 595 euros was donated in April for a bus for Tim, and that amount was collect in only 1 month! This is really a record amount. Really amazing. So sweet. In addition, the Jumbo in Nieuwkoop has promised to have a another campaign for Tim in August. Cool!

As you may know, Hein leads our church youth group with a meeting every two weeks. During one of these meetings, and currently online, a boy said that he had recently collected 25 euros worth of bottles and donated them at the Jumbo Nieuwkoop campaign. So sweet. Thank you!

What is very unfortunate is that at the Jumbo in Nijmegen, the box with receipts has been removed and the receipts have been stolen! So sad. Fortunately, the Jumbo has found a solution for this. Unfortunately, we miss out on that part of that month…

Since January 2020, 3,273 euros has been raised in empty bottles deposit-refund campaigns. What a fantastic amount. So it is really worth asking if we can participate in the deposit action. Last week we made some phone calls in the region to supermarkets to see if we could be qualify for the monthly empty deposit campaign. The Jumbo de Herenhof in Alphen aan de Rijn said that they have a permanent contract with a large charity organization and so there was no place for Tim. But… the entrepreneur immediately suggested making a donation himself. Thank you so much. This way you can see how it can go. Happiness can be so simple. Click here for all deposit promotions in 2020.

The bus
In total, we have received 12,958 euros of donations for a Bus for Tim. It is really an amazing amount that has been donated together with different initiatives. Unfortunately, it is not nearly enough for a bus. Hein is talking to a Renault dealer. This dealer has spoken to the fitting company, what the adjustments to the bus should do. This allowed them to discuss the best configuration together. Because you prefer to have adjustments ex factory on the bus and not adjusted later.

Keep your distance from Tim
The number of sick and casualties from the corona virus is falling. That is why it has been decided that the schools will open again. Also Tim’s school. But is that safe for Tim? As by governmental decision, Tim could go back to school on May 11. Tim has always been in a class with only 4 other children. He will go to school all days of the week, apart from Wednesday. However, the teachers have to keep their distance, and wash their hands with the children more often. But how do you do that with Tim? They have to hang over Tim to wash hands with him. They will wear mouth masks and gloves with food and while changing diapers. Apart from the school staff, all adults are expelled from the school. So, there will no therapy for Tim unfortunately. In fact, the adjacent rehabilitation center is full of convalescent corona patients. Taxi drivers, parents and other adults are not welcome at school. Not even on the square in front of the school. Also, the teachers find it difficult to imagine all this. But how will Tim experience the mouth masks and the gloves?

Go or not-go to school?
We find it very difficult to choose for Tim. What is wise: whether or not to go to school? Tim is healthy in itself. Except that he is very spastic because of his brain damage. But no more susceptible than others. He will come into contact with others. What if Tim gets sick? Is he lighting Willemijn, our 4 year old daughter, who was still hospitalized in February with respiratory problems? Or does he light us? In that case, who will take care of the children? Or Lennard who is still so young with more than 1 year? What to do and what shall we decide? The care for Tim at home is extensive and heavy. We are unable to provide Tim with the structure with so much variety, fun things and exercise as at school and with weekly therapy. Tim probably likes school again. With all the activities that excite him, the structure, the regularity, the safety and the teachers and the other children. But suppose Tim ends up in the hospital, even if the chance is small, one of us must be there. Because even though the “number” of corona cases is falling and there is more space in the IC departments, there is no less chance of getting sick. What is the best decision….

New wheelchair
Tim received a new wheelchair at the end of March. A larger model. Until recently, Tim was transported in a special outward-opening car seat. Hein lifted him in and out of the car seat every day from his wheelchair. At school this was done by the staff who takes care of all students. So Tim has never been in a taxi before while he is in a wheelchair. Originally, we planned a transition period which helped him to learn and to experiences. This would help us to understand, if this would not be too burdensome for him. He has a much more active sitting position in the wheelchair, which costs much more energy. He also spends a lot of time in the wheelchair at school. Before the school day starts, he would already have used up all his energy. In turn, it will reduce his learning performance and energy, because if he has already had such an exhausting taxi ride of 40 minutes one way.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to create a transition situation due to the health and safety regulations – Tim becomes really too heavy – and the corona measures of keeping a distance of one and a half meters. Tim will soon have to be transported in his wheelchair when he goes to school. We need make a plan for this in order to help him. Driving to school in your own car and seeing how Tim fared in the taxi is not allowed because of the corona virus: we are not allowed to enter the schoolyard. What a challenge.

In self-isolation
I hope you are all doing well. Are you still healthy or are you recovering? Working from home with the children around you and teaching? Do you have sick or perhaps even worse casualties in your area? Or have you been ill yourself? Is your company not doing well or are you no longer in work? What a challenging time this is. At the moment we are still healthy as a family. Luckily no corona symptoms. Therefore, we strictly adhere to the measures: one of us will go shopping. And we don’t go anywhere and nobody comes by.

We try to keep the children as busy as possible. Hein goes cycling with Tim for an hour every day, so that he still gets his exercise. We play games on the iPad, practice holding his drinking cup and lift it into his walking supporting device (caddy) to let him walk through the garden. Fortunately, the weather is nice. He discovers our garden. But the best part is Tim playing at the sand water table. He enjoys it very much. He is completely covered with sand and completely wet. The sand can be found in his mouth, but he loves it.

Tim can not do homework like other children. However, the teachers have made several videos that we can watch with Tim. For example a book they read or songs they sing. We regularly make video calls to the teachers. It is clear that Tim recognizes the teachers and likes to see them.

The downside
I find it very difficult now, not seeing our friends and acquaintances, grandparents and grandmothers. I am used to being so much at home. Hein has always worked at home with the children around him. But, I find it difficult that we no longer see our family and friends. Especially with birthdays. It is a complete turnaround as we have to suffer our lives now. That goes for everybody. Willemijn had her birthday, she became 4 years old. That was a completely different birthday than I had imagined weeks ago: no visit, but video calling with grandpas and grandmas. Many people called, so Willemijn still got all the attention.

I wish you strength and all health. Stay strong!
Hope to see you soon. With love Jessica