Mats-Till wird im Rollstuhl von seinem Bruder durch einen Flur im Kinder- und Jugendhospiz Bethel geschoben.

Close to people | Stories from Bethel

The racetrack is also fun on wheels

Here we go. Mats-Till smiles mischievously. The nine-year-old sits in a therapy chair. His thin legs look fragile. He can't even walk. But his big brother rolls him in the chair to the end of the corridor and runs off as fast as he can. And stop! Matti gurgles with delight. Fun in a children's hospice? Very few people expect that. Matti's parents felt the same way.

"I no longer knew which way was up and which way was down when we were recommended a children's hospice," recalls Matti's father Marc Becker. He was so scared that it meant: Matti is dying now! But that wasn't what he meant. It was about help and quality of life. The Beckers registered at Bethel. "The door opened and we saw bright and beautiful rooms. Nothing was like a hospital. And everyone was so welcoming," says Nicole Becker. The 45-year-old mother of two sons is now certain: "The time at the hospice is worth its weight in gold."

Marc Becker has his son Matti on his lap.
"Community with others is good for you."
Marc Becker, father of Matti

Families like the Beckers often struggle through a leaden daily routine. At Bethel, they can take a deep breath, sleep in and relinquish responsibility because they know their sick child is being well looked after. "The company of others is also good," says Marc Becker. Everyone knows the worry that a minor infection can have serious consequences. Matti realised this early on.

The Becker family and a member of staff from the children's and youth hospice spend time in the creative workshop.
Familie Becker sitzt auf einer Mauer im Garten des Kinder- und Jugendhospizes

He was barely two when he almost died. There were worries right from the start because his eyes wandered restlessly back and forth and his body seemed overstretched. The doctors suspected that Matti was suffering from a metabolic disorder. The effects are serious. Matti can barely speak and cannot grasp anything. He receives fluids via a feeding tube. But he is incredibly cheerful. His parents are convinced that he understands everything. The way he laughs when his big brother Jan-Hendrik teases him proves them right. The Beckers don't know where Matti's path will lead and when it will end. But they know that help is out there. And that gives them courage.

Text: Heike Lepkojis | Photos: Matthias Cremer

This story simply told

Mats-Till enjoys his time at the Bethel children's hospice. He has a metabolic disorder that affects his movement and speech, but he is still cheerful. For his family, the thought of a hospice was frightening at first, but it offers support and quality of life.

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Contact us

Bethel Children's and Youth Hospice

Remterweg 55
33617 Bielefeld

0521 144-2650

To the website of the centre



Information about the hospice

The Bethel Children's and Youth Hospice offers children and young people with a life-shortening illness a protected environment in which they can spend time together with their families. In addition to the nursing and care area, there is also a separate residential wing for parents and siblings. This allows families to spend time together at Bethel, strengthen their bonds, recharge their batteries and socialise with other people affected.

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