Ulyana is a tiny and charming girl with a heart flaw. She is in the hospital every two months.
When she was one, she slept in cellars, dropped to the ground at any sound, and already know that “Hail” and “Hurricane” are not merely “weather problems.” And as any other child from Lugansk, Pervomaysk, or Donetsk, she’s still terrified of any loud noise. Their building was hit many times but their apartment miraculously was untouched.
Across the street, there was a huge construction materials store, Epitsentr. It’s no longer there, nothing was left after 2014. There was a fire station next to it which was deliberately targeted, like other infrastructure sites which were the first to be taken out.
You didn’t forget to take a day off work to come to my book presentation at VDNKh, did you?
I wanted to write a happy post before the event.
Thanks to you we were able to prepare 50 Donbass kids for school!!!
50 kids received notebooks, pens, rulers, paints, and much else. They are from families for whom this is an unaffordable luxury. They are not simply Donbass kids who lived through war and continue to live there. They are from families with many kids, disabled, adopted. Families who lost homes, single mothers. Kids who really need this help. And every time we do this, we end up with very happy posts. Because children are the future. Children are life.
What to write? And how to write it?
One story after another. One after another. And then you sit in front of the photos and your fingers don’t know what to write.
I simply can’t convey the feelings inside me when I write about the cancer patients we care for. The words themselves disappear into thin air due to their ordinariness and overuse. And that’s the most awful thing.
This is Lyudmila Nikolayevna. Her condition is bad.
We are trying as best we can to help her deal with cancer. When people tell you that the volunteers, the doctors, have gotten used to it, it’s true. Of course you get used to it, and sometimes you are even surprised such things don’t affect you. But at some point you are overcome. Nobody can avoid that. It happened to me when I saw the photos of Lyudmila Nikolayevna after the chemo.
You have seen that woman in our reports. We regularly provide her with medications from Moscow. Because they can’t be obtained locally.
Doctors in Lugansk recently said they can’t do anything else and sent her to the Donetsk Republic Oncology Center.
I have an incredible pile of reports on the recent aid work in Lugansk. I don’t know where to start. Then there’s the damned injury which has temporarily deprived me of sports, which is always dangerous to people around me. Peaceful atom, if not released, may become dangerous.
So I’ve decided to remind New Year is nigh.
Sasha’s father died on March 6, 2015. He and his brother went off to join the militia almost at the very beginning. “Off to war…”. Who back then knew what “war” was? Sasha’s uncle had two serious injuries and a wound. He’s practically disabled and can’t either serve or find work.
Sasha lives with his grandmother in Lugansk. The boy’s mother left him with his father when he was very little. It’s a rare case, but not totally unheard of.
On the photo Sasha with a photo of his dad, also Sasha…
Aleksandr the elder was not quite 40 when he died.
LPR celebrated Mother’s Day on November 26 just as all of Russia did. All of you and I took some small part in it.
The Lugansk Aid Center organized a celebration for families with foster and adopted children.
We collected some money in order to send greetings and presents to these remarkable moms and their adoptive sons and daughters. In wartime such families have it particularly hard, considering the lack of work and low benefits. All of these women are unbelievably dedicated to their children. It is to them this celebration was dedicated.
The Lugansk City Center for Social Services is assisting 13 families with foster children.
You know some of them. For example, the Testeshnikovs, whose daughter Kristina is an insulin-dependent diabetic. We’ve brought her test-strips more than once.
The Testeshnikovs actually have two foster daughters, and not only Kristina has health problems. The second girl has heart problems.
The Testeshnikovs took in the two girls when they were not very young, and at the time they were healthy. The problems appeared later. They did not give the girls back. What do you think–is it right, and incorrect, for me to view this father and mother as heroes? And incorrect when they behave otherwise? Because it’s normal for many people return foster kids when they discover these types of problems. When they discover pathologies and disabilities, even after many years of living together. How many stories like that did we hear in orphanages. Therefore I’m happy even in situations where it should be a normal thing to do.
The parents love the girls and are doing their best to take care of them.
I must have started this post, erased it, and started over, at least ten times.
It’s hard to write things differently. So that people would notice and read.
It is…I don’t know…
These women are at war every day. Every day they are in their own trenches.
They fight, they struggle for every moment. With their kids, loved ones.
“Our girls”–that’s how Zhenya refers to them, irrespective of age.
Our girls have cancer. They live in Lugansk…They have their own war. They are at war…
We try to do everything we can in this situation. We try to help…
A few days prior to September 1 were got thinking many people on the Donbass can’t afford to buy their kids anything for school. They simply have no money. Then I wrote a post and you know what? You and I turned out to be quite awesome.
We got in touch with the Lugansk Aid Center and coordinated the list of necessities. Thanks to the money you sent, we managed to prepare 22 kids for school. It’s not just pens, pencils, supplies, but even pen holders and backpacks.
Zhenya described the distribution thusly: “To be perfectly serious, several moms were crying since they had no idea how to buy these things, and the kids must go to school…”
I’ve been writing far less frequently about the people we care for on the Donbass. It’s not so much due to it being hard for me, but rather because everyone is tired and is not opening these posts. But it’s a fact: we’re helping as much as before. Or perhaps even more.
These post contains accounts of aid to 8 families.
Zhenya and I constantly get asked: “How can you bear it?”
I think the answer would run something like this: “It’s far worse to know about it and not be able to do anything.”
I’m simply grateful you are giving us the ability to do something. I think I wrote about this? But so be it, let me say it one more time. I will probably repeat this constantly from now on. I’m glad to say thanks to you for the aid.
I don’t know to what extent we are doing the right thing.
There are cases in which we help those who perhaps don’t need it. There are cases where people lie, though we always try to check. But I know one thing for sure–I don’t sense emptiness.
There are many various feelings. Exhaustion, bitterness, unfairness, tears. Sometimes I want to give up, we have so many people under our care who have cancer and who are simply doomed. Many of them already died. Many cases are hopeless. It seems Zhenya and Lena are hit harder by these cases. They are on the spot, after all. But I return. Return to normal life. Without war.
Therefore I want to thank them once again. The very close Zhenya and Lena, whom I want to tell they are wonderful.