Our Vika, being a good Stakhanovite, performed nearly every day in late December.
I can’t understand how she’s not become a star yet.
Vika is not only a beauty, but also an improbably kind person with a strong voice.
And also with improbably high will power.
She’s had nothing but five years of cornucopia of problems, but she’s smiling, laughs, and lives.

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Life Goes On!

Look, look–what a merry beauty!
On December 11, our Vika appeared in a concert in Lugansk, dedicated to people with disabilities.
Recordings proved of poor quality therefore you won’t be able to hear Vika, but you’ll have to take us on our word! She was wonderful!
I heard her sing many times, I even posted a video. She has a strong, beautiful voice. She practices constantly at home.
She’s also improbably artistic, charismatic, and kind.

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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.

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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Our Lone Grandmas

A small fact gleaned from observing social media and public opinion.
Nearly all my stories about deaths of people we cared for or scandals, like the story of rape attempt of Vika from Vergunka, usually get several tens of thousands of views. But nearly all the texts about how we painstakingly and constantly help people from Donbass get, as a maximum–several hundred, or many even several tens, but definitely not thousands.
That’s how things are.
I know it’s hype. I realize that’s human nature. I understand everything.
But that’s why I don’t give up. Because even though that’s human nature, which needs scandals and blood, a group of people coalesced around me (that’s you, folks)))) which has such big hearts that all of these views lose importance. One and the same set of people keeps sending money. Month after month. Quietly, without letters, we’re simply getting aid. Retirees, students, grown men, fathers of many children, single moms, young girls. Whatever they can.
A single post like this is the result of tremendous effort by many people. It’s not only about our Lena and Zhenya who work miracles while living there, in Lugansk. It’s also about the long chain of caring, love, and kindness of many, many people.
All of these tiny streams transform into big help for many people.
I wrote many times–believe me, it’s not about the packets of food and medications which our team brings the needy. The problem lies in that these people have nobody else to help them. Many of them lost their loved ones. They face unimaginable struggles and they have no option but to survive.
I won’t even mention the fact they live in a war zone.
But now they have us. They know it. It’s tears without end.
Not only of sadness but of joy and gratitude.
How one wants these tears would go away. Reasons for them would go away. But we’re powerless to do the impossible. But we can do that which is within our power. “Do what you can.” So we try.
As best we can.

This post is dedicated to one of the least protected categories of people under our care. We call them “lone grandmas”.
Scroll through the photos. Look at them.
You’ve been observing many families for years. And I repeat the same words month after month.
But…please read, look. I’m asking you.
I also always remind you that if you want to help these families, please label your contributions “grandmas”. Incidentally, likes, comments, reposts all help a great deal too.
Thank you! Thank you for your aid and caring! It gives strength not only to these people, but to all of us. To me.
Thank you for being there. Please forgive me for repeating the same things over and over.
But still–it’s such joy to know you, even if in absentia (though many in person, too).
In hoc signo vinces!

Our Lyubov Mikhailovna with grandkids, Timur and Elisey. She raises them alone. Thank God the unfit mother was deprived of custody by courts (hurrah, since the spring LPR courts have started dealing with civil cases!). But she can’t get custody for herself. Either the judge is on leave, or the assistant “forgot” to deliver the right documents. Which means she has to get all the papers together again in order for her to get child care benefits. They live only off her pension. Lyubov has many health problems, including diabetes.
We’ve recently brought her medications.

The “Diabetes” Tag

As you know, helping diabetics is a very important part of our Donbass aid effort.
Here, I want to tell you about one individual.
I don’t even remember when Sasha first appeared. He simply wrote and offered help.
He was at the time delivering a large batch of foodstuffs through some foundation, delivered some to us as well. That’s how we obtained A LOT of condensed milk, canned meat, and groats that we distributed among families under our care. That was back in ’15.
Then Sasha somehow read my post about diabetics and test strips. I don’t recall when that was.
You know that diabetics must constantly monitor their blood sugar. For them it’s a given without which they cannot survive. There were gaps in insulin supply in Lugansk in ’14-’15, now it’s available in clinics, moreover all kinds are available. Though even in ’16 not everything was being handed out. So we brought certain types of insulin for our blind Vika. The kind of insulin she was issued made her feel worse. Now, thank God there are no problems with insulin in LPR.
But when it comes to glucose-meters and test strips, they have to be purchased by individuals themselves, like elsewhere in the world. This is where the problem is. On average, two packets of strips are needed a month. That’s about 1500 rubles (optimistically). Moreover, pharmacies often run out and there are delays in deliveries. People always try to stock up, whenever possible.
Local endocrinologists say that diabetes is sharply on the rise. Huge number of new cases. I’m speaking of insulin-dependent. Many children. Due to these “stresses”, if such a word is appropriate when speaking about war. For most locals it’s too much to afford. Average salary in the region is 6-8 thousand rubles.
There are also problems with the paramedic stations. They issue only the minimum, so the medics are forced to take people to labs to rule out diabetes. It would be quicker and easier to do this on the spot. I wrote a post about this some time ago. Then  Sasha instantly wrote “Dunya, how about I deliver short expiration date stuff? It’s cheaper, and they will all be used up?”
They are being used up. You wouldn’t believe how fast.

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No right to make a mistake

Friends, thank you for Vika.
We’ve been saving her together for four years.
Vika and her mom are like in a game of Tetris, where blocks are falling from above and one must run, turn, get away from the falling constructs.
And, unfortunately, they only get faster.
One would think that our lovely girl’s cheeks have become rounder, a smile never leaves her face…But problems keep appearing.
That’s the price of a mistake for a diabetic.
Therefore there is no right to make mistakes.
This illness’ retribution is swift and severe.

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Now the kidneys

I’m posting an endless quantity of photos of Vika where she’s smiling.
She does, in fact, smile. Every time we brought aid, she’s joyful. Sincerely, earnestly. This is not a forced smile in front of a camera. She’s genuinely happy. Because of the aid, of us, and of your constant attention…
But I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know how to grab the tail of the nightmare which is following this girl.
We met on May of ’16 in Lugansk when she was on the brink of death. Unfortunately, that’s no figure of speech. She started to lose eyesight, two of her front teeth fell out, her thyroid gland was out of control and, most awfully–she lost the will to live. We’ve been fighting for Vika ever since.
We took her to Moscow. Her lungs were operated on since it turned out she had TB. Bought a huge amount of expensive meds. Her eyes and gynecology were also operated on. Constant hospitalizations. In the end she lost her sight and her health continue to crumble. We buy her all the medications she needs. We also get her food, insulin, test strips. But it doesn’t help! Vika has diabetes and, let me tell you, it’s a terrible illness. I can’t even guess the extent. It does not forgive mistakes. You simply have no right to make mistakes, and your whole life becomes a struggle for it. Diabetes did not forgive Vika that spring when she did not eat and simply lay in bed. It did not forgive those few weeks when her brother died, when she did not want to live. When she stopped eating. Terrible processes got underway which we are trying to arrest. But we are not succeeding.
We’re not giving up, we’re fighting. But I don’t know. That’s the truth.
The previous post was about how Vika had an emergency hospitalization due to a burst ovary cyst. It was operated on.
And now I’m writing about Vika’s kidneys failing. Her mom is in panic. One kidney already failed, the second one is in bad shape.
Together with Sasha Shaskova we ran all over Moscow to get the needed medications which can’t be obtained in LPR. She needs to take them for several days (shown on the last photo).
But Vika continues to smile on all the photos. Our Bellflower. Our very own Bellflower.
Beautiful, young, joyful.
How the hell is one to write about it?
What is there to say?

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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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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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