Vika in hospital

Vika had an emergency hospitalization.
Her ovary ruptured.
I have many questions toward the doctors, since Vika was just recently on a scheduled stay and was evaluated by specialists, including gynecologists, who have her “all clear.”
Now all’s well again, and only because Sveta, Vika’s mom, called emergency services.
Thank God.
Given Vika’s range of ailments, combined with the blindness, it’s not good news.


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After the Operation

On April 24th, Rodion and his mom were sent back home to Lugansk.
While we drove them to the bus station, I read about the issuing of Russian passports to L/DPR citizens. I whistled and couldn’t believe my eyes.
Anya, it seems, didn’t understand what I was referring to.
She had a very hard week, she did not sleep at all and did not leave her son.
But Rodion was full of energy and wanted to explore every corner of the bus station.
The operation was successful, the implant was implanted.
He was operated on by one of Russia’s top specialists.
And I want to say, in Anya’s name, in my name, and in the name of our entire team, that we are enormously grateful to Irina Bednova! It is thanks to her this miracle had happened.
Anya, it seems, is still in disbelief.

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Rodion is in Moscow!

Hurrah!
Rodion arrived in Moscow from Lugansk on April 15 in order to undergo a very complex and expensive operation–a cochlear implant.
Rodion is 2.5 years old and was born deaf. This is a costly procedure which entails implanting a hearing device. The sooner it’s done, the more likely the implant is to be accepted, and the boy regaining his hearing.
Thanks to our Irina Bednova, the boy will have this operation for free.
Unfortunately, for objective reasons, we were not able to admit him yesterday. Not all the analyses and mother’s information came in. We had to pay for some additional tests instead.


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Our Bellflower

I was recently asked “How’s our Bellflower?” The “Bellflower” is the name we gave Vika several years ago in reaction to her infectious laughter. May will see the fourth anniversary of us helping this girl from Lugansk.
We met in May ’15. Shortly after her brother’s death, who also had diabetes. It’s been a lifetime since the. During that “lifetime” we have done a lot, but at the same time very little.
We tried to save her eyesight, but couldn’t.
But we did cure her of TB. We did a lot, but also lost a lot, together with Vika.
It’s difficult to write every subsequent Vika post. Because ever time I’m being read by new people, while Vika’s story is a whole big book. A story of one girl, a beautiful girl suffering from diabetes, who lost everything, first and foremost eyesight, due to the war…
Vika’s story is indicative in many ways. One has to understand that the war kills and crushes the most vulnerable. Not only with shells. Sometimes with far more elementary means–wrong insulin, lack of test strips, poor nutrition…
To read more about Vika, click on the “Vika” tag at the bottom of this post.
And yes, it’s also a story about people who care, people who are responsive, people who love. Vika has received help from all over the world–UK, Germany, USA, etc.
So, how is our Bellflower doing?


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Rodion

Please meet Rodion from Lugansk.
This attractive little kid has been death since birth.
He’ll turn 3 in November, and there’s still a chance to restore his hearing by then. I’m not a doctor and I can’t tell whether it would be a partial or full restoration, but I do know that if one does a cochlear implant (I don’t know what that is) by that time, the implant will be successful. After that there will be problems.
But this post is not about collecting money for the boy’s operation.
I will say that when we met the family, the mother found a hospital in St. Petersburg which undertook to treat him. Naturally for serious money, a million and a half rubles. There was a foundation which gave a preliminary approval. But it required some kind of a special preliminary examination, also expensive, and at the same hospital. We, to be honest, didn’t want to risk. We planned to keep collecting money, even though we had doubts.
But, thank God, we were saved by Irina Bednova. That very same wife of the legendary commander Bednov. She helped us set the whole thing up in Moscow! For free!
It seems the hospitalization will happen already in April.
Ira is an amazing human being, I will never get tired of repeating that and adorhign her. And yes, it’s not the first time she’s saved one of our people. For example, Vika and Sergey Balanov, a cardiologist stricken with cancer, got treatment thanks to her.
But here’s the story.

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About “Another” World

When I was a teen, I thought I’d become an actress. I used to visit a theater studio and saw myself garner applause and tons of flowers and presents. Then I started to study philosophy, thinking theater and movies won’t go anywhere. Did I ever think, even for a second, I’d be writing about people with development difficulties? That I will collect money for them and buy scissors, glue, and gouache? Not literally, of course, but figuratively.
Not for a second. Such people did not exist in my life and I knew nothing of them. Not because I did not want to know, but because it didn’t happen that way. My life flowed in a different direction.
The first meeting took place during the winter of ’15, when I stood in the Krasnodon children’s home with candy packets and, sweating, tried to sort them into caramel- and jam-filled ones. It turned out many could not be served hard candy because they’d choke. We were brought to a children’s home but were not told of what kind. I thought it’s simply an orphanage. I was taken into a room with “difficult cases”. A few kids were barking, some were rocking from side to side, several were oblivious to everything, only drooled and looked past us. There were also kids with physical impairments, not mental ones.
I was in shock. And all of that was happening against the backdrop of war and an unbelievable adrenaline rush from the trips to the Donbass.
After that I have seen many children and adults with impairments. This is a big part of life which we do not see and of which we know nothing.
That’s how things are.
I periodically write about a club for people like that in Lugansk. It’s called Okay. You probably remember it.


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We found medications!

Hurrah!
We were successful!!!Now I’ll tell you everything.
In December I wrote a post about little Karina from Lugansk who needs a monthly treatment with cerebrokurin, which can’t be obtained in LPR. The girl needs it to live, and if she doesn’t get it regularly, she might be developmentally delayed.
It costs a lot of money and is unavailable in the Republics. It’s not easy to find it in Russia either, and it costs much more there than in Ukraine.
But we collected the money and ordered it in Ukraine. For Karina’s family that’s an insurmountable expense.
And now it was delivered!!! We can now breath easy, after this difficult and risky undertaking.
I won’t tell you all the details, because even getting it through LPR checkpoints is not simple.
What we bought will suffice for a whole year!!!!

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Special Greetings

The Lugansk Aid Center (the official name is different and totally tooth-rattling) keeps score of many families. With multiple children, without fathers, with adoptive children, with disabled children–everyone who for one reason or another found themselves in a “difficult situation.” They receive help within the center’s abilities. After 2014 the number of such families sharply increased. It also included refugees, who fled to Lugansk from border zones. Many lost their homes, relatives, and other sources of aid. There were many wounded, many people who lost relatives, many disabled. The situation of families who were struggling before the war became utterly desperate when the war began. Unfortunately, there are many women with children who were abandoned by their husbands and have to live on crumbs. There was a New Year’s tree ceremony held for them, during which we, for the fourth year running, give presents to the children. But there were also kids who were unable to come. These kids are disabled.
We came upon the idea several years ago of visiting these families to bring them presents. I did that myself last year. By the end of the day I was prostrate with fatigue but it was genuine happiness. The happiness of children, their parents, grandparents. Both the children and the adults sang, danced, and even cried from the joy and the unexpectedness.
This year I passed the baton to the amazing Olya, a social worker at the Lugansk Center. You should remember Olya, we keep helping her cancer-stricken mother with medications.
Here are some photos of Olya the Snow Maiden with the kids. Various kids–some have mental deficiencies, others physical ones. Yet others have none, but all of these kids and their parents are struggling.
Zhenya wrote: “They were waiting for us!!! The kids were prepared, they recited enough poems to last us the whole year.)) For most of them this was a happy event–this much was clear to an unaided eye.”
You don’t know most of these kids, though others you’ve met on the pages of my journal.
Friends, thanks to all of you who helped make this holiday for the kids! You can’t imagine what it means to them to be visited by Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden. It’s the happiest of happiness.
Special greetings for these special kids!


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Karina

Karina will turn two in a month. She is alive and growing only because she gets an injection of Cerebrocurine every two months which the family can barely afford. It’s a crisis every time it’s the turn to buy more ampules. But the big problem is not even the money, but rather that it’s hard to get the drug in LPR.
Zhenya said that Ira, the girl’s mom, is “out of her mind”.
When she was one month old, she was diagnosed with a internal hematoma in a location which ruled out trauma. She had a surgery, there were complications, followed by meningoencephalitis. Now there is a liquid where the hematoma used to be, which cannot be removed. She needs the injections to live.

Ira and Karina


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How’s Seryozha?

I have been writing about Seryozha less and less frequently, even though he’d become one of the main heroes of our blog.
Everyone’s been laughing at me because of the mustache, for Seryozha shaved it off six months after we became acquainted. He went and shaved it off. Lena comes to see him, looks, points with a finger: “Mustache, Seryozha, where’s the mustache?”
Seryozha touches that part of his face where the mustache ought to be and looks puzzled. Lena wags her finger: “Mustache, Seryozha, it’s very important!”
Everyone had a laugh.
Seryozha grew back his mustache. I never saw him without one. Then I came to see him in the retirement home in Lugansk, shortly after his leg was amputated. He looks at me, smiles, and says: “Here I am, with a mustache!” His eyes were gleaming with mischief.
We’ve been taking care of Seryozha since the spring of 2015, when we met him in Khryashchevatoye. He was homeless, lived in a barrack without water or electricity, had progressive polyarthritis. A few weeks later he had a bad fall. It was a miracle he survived it, but a leg had to be amputated.
Much happened since then, and he’s become one of “ours”.  To read more about him, click on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this post.
How’s he doing?
Well, our happy-go-lucky-guy is beginning to give in..

 

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