At the request of parents and through the mediation of healthcare professionals, Make a Memory takes photos of seriously ill, terminally ill and deceased children aged from 23 weeks (pregnancy) to 17 years. Parents receive a booklet with five photos and a usb-stick with all the photos that were taken by a professional photographer. The photos offer the parents comfort and a lasting memory, and the photos can offer substantial help in coping with the loss. For parents, there is no cost for receiving photos. All expenses are borne by sponsors, donations, gifts and other legitimate income.
Paul has been committed to Make a Memory for years. He climbs Mont Ventoux, together with a group of other cyclists. Each cyclist gathers sponsors so that a considerable amount of money is raised. The sponsored cycling tour, called OpdePedalen (On the Pedals) / OpdeVoeten (On the Feet), raises between 30 thousand and 50 thousand euros every year. Paul adds: "Make a Memory receives an average of three request every day, so we desperately need this income to meet all the requests."
"I'm well-off and therefore I feel I have an obligation to give something back to people who need support,"
Confronting, but valuable
Volunteering for Make a Memory is an important part of Paul's life. "I'm well-off and therefore I feel I have an obligation to give something back to people who need support," he says. Paul indirectly knows what it means to lose a baby. Before Paul was born, his parents went through this painful experience twice. "That was in a different time. It was hardly thought about then, but my mother – who is now elderly - has always carried the loss with her."
Most of the people who are involved in Make a Memory have experienced from close by what it is like to lose a child. The foundation also has volunteers who deal with these issues in their professions. "It's not just about generating sponsorship funds. We talk a lot about what unites us. That is confronting, but also very valuable.
"What suits me so well is the atmosphere and the way in which we treat each other. Everyone is equal and treats each other accordingly."
Paul finds it important to engage with other people. A service-oriented nature that is also very useful as a service delivery manager. His problem-solving skills also come in handy, both at ICT Group, and in his volunteer work, Paul notes. "One trait that might be seen as less positive is my stubbornness," he says candidly. "One of my mantras is 'I'm not persuading, but showing that I'm right'. That can come across as arrogant, but our unit has to be able to solve problems and help customers 24/7. In a lot of situations, being a bit stubborn can't hurt at all. What’s more, something like that suits my age and life experience," he laughs. "But fortunately, I am a real team player and open to the expert input from my colleagues."
The human touch
He has a great time at ICT Group. "What suits me so well is the atmosphere and the way in which we treat each other. Everyone is equal and treats each other accordingly." The human touch, that's what Paul is all about, and this is why he finds it so logical that he dedicates his spare time to the Make a Memory foundation.
OpdePedalen (On the Pedals) / OpdeVoeten (on the Feet)
The On the Pedals / On the Feet event is held annually in September. The objective is to climb Mont Ventoux, either by cycling or walking. Anyone can take part in the event, whether it is the sporty cyclist, the hiker who wants to add another climb to their sporting CV, or the parents who have lost their child(ren) and want to take part for a bit of coping. The combination of sports enthusiasts and parents provides a smile and a tear during the event.