The pin was removed!

Friends, we finally have good news about Elena Ivanovna!
Do you remember the woman from Lugansk with a major leg problem?
In ’15 she suffered a fracture of the hip joint after which the local doctors inserted a pin and everything fused together improperly. Ever since then she’s had difficulty walking, and only with crutches. Then she broke her arm and could not use crutches. Her husband died of cancer in the meantime. There are problems with the arm, too. We started to help Elena during the summer. She and her young son are completely alone.
The problem lay in that she could not get a free joint in LPR since she is a Russian citizen even though she’s lived there since the ’90s and had a residence permit. She was not able in her condition to leave for Russia and get free treatment there.
But now we have terrific news!

Our friends have done the impossible!
She got an LPR passport in the shortest time possible! Thanks to, specifically, Lena. She simply took Elena Ivanovna in her wheelchair and went to one institution after another. And you know what–people saw her condition and went out of their way to help. How did it happen? Nobody can believe it. Everything was done literally in a week.
Naturally, Lena’s titanic stubbornness were key. One must have enormous internal reserves to do that. Anyone who’s dealt with such institutions knows. My hat’s off to her.
As soon as she got her passport she was operated on. Zhenya consulted with some outstanding doctors.
But it’s not the final joint replacement surgery.
On a tip from Tanya Anikina and a doctor she knew in Moscow who saw the x-rays, we learned that before new joint is installed the pin installed by the “bone-breakers” which basically crippled her must be removed. The operation took place in October ’15. Took 3 hours. The doctors said it was “bloody”.


This post contains photos from before and after the surgery. We bought all the medications and everything necessary for the surgery. Lena came to the hospital almost immediate after it was over.
Zhenya: “Elena Ivanovna was practically born anew. She was very worried, and now she’s not the pain-ridden fearful woman, but instead has a merry fire in her eyes. ‘I still can’t believe it was all done in a week”‘. We were dumbfounded as well. We intensified our efforts and it all somehow came together. Genuine miracles. Such a mad pace, though. You go home, and your head is still buzzing”.

So those are the news. Rather good ones at that!
Now we have to wait 6 months until everything sets. We hope to resolve the joint problem during this time.
Elena Ivanovna practically has wings, she’s trying to move on her own now.
But at night she has terrible pains. Hospitals don’t have morphine, they use whatever they have. Which is not enough.

Big thanks to Zhenya and Lena. It was heroic on their part, obtain the passport and the operation so quickly!
Thanks to Tanya who helped with the information, and thanks to all those to donated money! Thank you all for your participation.
But everything is still ahead of us. The start has been made, though, which is very important.
I am happy beyond measure to be able to write such “news”. Because all of it was in a suspended state for a long time, because nobody wanted to tackle such a hard case.
In hoc signo vinces!

If you want to contribute to Elena Ivanovna’s recovery, please label your contributions “Elena”.

If you want to help the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: Paypal address:

Please label contributions for this family “Elena”.

Shall we help Rodion?

Friends, we have news about Rodion.
A deaf boy from Lugansk whom we are helping.
A miracle happened last spring, and thanks to Irina Bednova we were able to take him to Moscow for a cochlear implant on his right ear. For free?
Since then he’s been undergoing a long training and rehabilitation course.
To read about Rodion, click on the “Rodion” tag at the bottom of this post.
We recently got unexpected and wonderful news. In September his other ear was implanted. Also for free. This time it was done not in Russia but in Ukraine, which makes us very happy. I’m honestly very glad they are also helping the inhabitants of the Republics, because more often than not we hear stories about refusals. The left ear received an implant in Kiev. Now he has two implants. It’s good it happened so quickly. I was told by specialists that the training and tuning process should ideally happen on both ears at once.



There are 68 Vika-tagged posts on my blog. I wrote about the girl named Vika almost seventy times. I reminded everyone every time that the young beauty lives in Lugansk. That she has diabetes. The she lost her sight. Suffered from TB. Lost a brother. Had a kidney fail. And it seems it’s becoming more difficult for me to write about this girl.
Not because I have been repeating this 68 times. But because Vika herself reads these posts.
Vika has a computer for the blind which we and you managed to organize for her. Before, these posts were read for her by her mother. Not only posts about them–they read nearly everything I write. But before the mother could skip certain parts. Now Vika can read it all herself. She often writes replies, in person, sending smileys and always trying to make me smile and think everything is fine.
And it is difficult for me to remind her of the situation in which she found herself.
I would much prefer to write joyful stories, but when it comes to Vika these stories are always different. It’s a difficult situation. Sveta and Vika would really struggle without your help. So much so that I don’t even know how retell the same story every time.
To read all the posts about Vika, click on the “Vika” tag at the bottom of this post.
This time, I want to write about Sergey from Belgorod. Every six months, like clockwork, he sends “talking” test strips for a special glucose-meter which he bought several years ago specially for Vika.

Irina Aleksandrovna

Irina Aleksandrovna is from the village of Frunze, LPR. It’s in the “gray zone”. You know what that is? Briefly, a place where there’s fighting. On the “line of contact.” After yet another shell impact (which are not rare there) the woman grabbed her four grandkids, picked up the bag with documents, and drove to Lugansk. Abandoned a house where she had lived her whole life. Where are the children’s parents? They are the sort that social workers euphemistically refer to as “unfit”. The mother exists only on paper. But luckily the kids have a grandma.
Irina Aleksandrovna was born in 1963. When Lena visited them, she was not clear on who was coming with the kids. A child, a sister? Tiny, thin, “only eyes”.
The woman fled to Lugansk. Friends of friends put her up in an apartment near Kambrod. It was empty since ’14–the owner had left. But allowed them to live there.

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News about Elena Ivanovna

Friends, I have not written about Elena Ivanovna not because there are no news, but because there is still no clarity.
But since it’s been over 2 months since the last publication, I’ll make some clarifications.
In June, I wrote about Elena. The situation is, to put it mildly, complicated. Specifically: she had a hip bone fracture, and now needs a joint replacement. It happened in ’15, when it was difficult to perform such a surgery.
’15 was not as bad as ’14 for Lugansk, when there was active fighting, but still, LPR was totally destroyed. The joint was somehow fixed in place and it fused improperly. She could hardly walk for two years, then began to walk with crutches, but with difficulty. At that time her husband fell ill. Throat cancer. He expired quickly. Last fall Elena fell and injured her hand. Since then the hand is immobile which means she cannot fully use her crutch. Husband died, she lives alone with her son.
She can’t work, everything rests on her son–cooking, cleaning, laundry–EVERYTHING.
That’s the short version.
We undertook to help her, and then it turned out that it’s not simple at all.
First of all, she’s a Russian citizen who’s lived in Lugansk for the last 20 years. With a residence permit. So she cannot be on the waiting list for a free hip replacement (rules). On the other hand, going to Russia is also problematic. She’s not easy to transport. Right now she’s seeking to obtain an LPR passport. But there are huge waiting lists and, most importantly, one has to wait for YEARS for a free operation…Another woman we help, Yulya, has been on such a list for 18 months. No end is in sight…
Doctors advised to try to pay for it.
We are examining options on how to do it with minimum expense.

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Yulya and Lera

I’m often asked–how do we find people who need assistance?
It’s an interesting question, but also a banal one–it always varies. In some cases it’s the neighbors, in others acquaintances. In general, of course, we get referrals from the Social Services Center in Lugansk, which is where people who need help go. Curiously, nearly all the direct, first-person appeals we encountered on the internet turned out to be either lies or divorces. Not always, of course. And then there are the cases where we accidentally encounter such people ourselves. I remember how we met one granny in Khryashchevatoye. We then came to simply take photos of the village where nearly half of the houses were destroyed. There were lots of burned out vehicles on every street. Tanks, APCs. It was January 2015. We met her right on the street. She was taking tiny steps, with felt boots over snow, bent almost all the way to the ground. We pushed some money into her hand and she cried. Since then we have found her and came to visit more than once.

That’s what happened with Olya.
This young woman lives next to our sisters whom we’ve been helping for years. Our friends have noticed her a long time ago–a young woman, but limping with a cane. One time when we were bringing more aid to our Alyona and Marina, we saw Yulya once again. Got to talking. Turned out not for naught.
Zhenya says:

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“Greetings, Dunyasha! How are you? As for me, I’m fine…Why aren’t you coming? I would like to at least catch a glimpse of you. Try to get away, or you might not get here in time.”
Our friends sent me this video with Seryozha Kutsenko.
The link is below.
I miss him so…
All in all, I really want to go to Lugansk.
To Seryozha, Lev, my Lena and Zhenya, Yulya, Vika–all of them.

Video with Seryozha:


We’ve known Seryozha since spring of ’15, when we were bringing aid to Khryashchevatoye. More than half of it was destroyed due to fighting. Seryozha lost his home in the summer of ’14. He lived in a barrack when we met. There was no electricity, water, gas for a long time. He has polyarthritis and at the time could walk only on crutches. Please read other posts about him by clicking on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this article.
Seryozha then lost his leg, and nearly died. We were all then saving him, and afterwards our friends managed to get him into a retirement home where he’s been living ever since. And we always come to visit him.
I have not been there for a long time, but our friends go there regularly.

How is he doing? He races in his “tank” (what he calls his powered wheelchair donated by Natasha), and sends everyone greetings. He has problems with blood pressure, weakness. It was very hot in Lugansk when the video was recorded. He’s taking it poorly. Hence the sadness.
Overall, everything is as before.
I’m only sorry he did not say an anecdote.
If only you could hear one–few people can do it like he does.
Friends, thank you for your caring!

If you want to join the aid effort for the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: Paypal address:

Our Sisters

I recently had visitors who asked what I was up to. I froze, and a friend sitting next to me said–“she’s a blogger”.
“What do you write about?” I froze. About philanthropy? Humanitarian aid? The Donbass? News?
That’s not it. That’s not it. None of it is it.
So what is it?
Here, look at the photos below. They are from our aid over the last three months (four visits) for two girls, sisters who were living on their own. They were abandoned by their mother, to put it briefly. They’ve been surviving on their own nearly the whole time since the war began.
But then her mother was crushed by a stroke last winter. The hospital called the girls–her mother’s phone had a “daughter” number. They called a daughter whom the mother has not seen for years, but how were the doctors to know? The girls took the woman home. Now they feed, wash, care for her. That’s the story.
My blog is probably about them. About the sisters. Also about Seryozha Kutsenko, Vika, Oksana, and many many others. And about Lena and Zhenya, who live in Lugansk and selflessly help people. About you, who keep reading this blog and decide to help the sisters, Seryozha, and Vika. About people. People who live on the Donbass. People who care about those who live there. Curiously, I started this blog intending it to be about me and my life. But now all these people became part of it.

Another Seizure

“Guys, these are my first flowers since Sasha was killed”
Natasha was almost crying when our Lena and Zhenya came to visit her with flowers for her 35th birthday.
I’m looking at this beautiful and young woman and can’t believe it. She’s my peer, and she’s been through so much, and there are more things happening to her, again and again. As if it was not enough that her house in Lugansk was damaged in battle back in ’14, and her husband, militiaman, was killed in battle. Then she discovered a swelling in her head that was removed and a titanium plate was installed in its place.
Natasha has epilepsy. When the war began, seizures became far more frequent, whereas they were practically absent before the war. Natasha also has four kids. She is struggling to survive together with them.
You know Natasha if you’ve been reading me for a long time. Last year’s post became one of LiveJournal’s top posts and I was inundated with letters. Thanks to you, we were able to cover all of Natasha’s debts for the surgery and utilities. And yes, we continue to help her as best we can.
But, dear God, why does this woman have to suffer like that, and when will tragedies stop raining upon her…

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An “Incorrect” Diabetic

You know how I became acquainted with Vika? Four and a half years ago, a pale as a sheet woman came to the distribution of test strips which we brought as part of our humanitarian aid to LPR. The distribution took place in a diabetics’ society in Lugansk in the spring of 2015 in a yard of a multi-story apartment building in that city. The woman was Sveta, who buried her son only a day earlier. She stood there lifeless, literally a mannequin, and mechanically signed receipts for test strips for her daughter.
For Vika. Who was at home in bed. What’s there to add? Perhaps that Lugansk was not being bombed. Thank God for that.
You’ve been reading about Vika for over 4 years. 4.5 years of struggle for life unfold on the pages of this blog.
Diabetes, brother’s death, blindness. TB, gynecology, thyroid. A kidney failed this spring. Second one also shows problems.
The girl lives in Lugansk, where the health care capabilities are, shall we say…limited.
Minimal salaries, too, but at least they do exist. In ’14 and ’15, even that did not exist. Or medications, for that matter. There was nothing at all. People quietly died in their homes simply due to lack of needed preparations and injections.


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