I believe that each of us can contribute some empathy and energy to Ivan, Lyudmila, and Alex to fulfil their biggest dreams.
My name is Anna. People often say that I inspire them. Now - I want other people to be inspired with these 3 heartbreaking stories I want to share with you today. Even if you cannot donate, I would like you to read it and practice more empathy with your friends, family members, and just strangers you meet in your life.
These three bright and sunny souls are forced to be in isolation for their whole life because of their health conditions.
A couple of months ago, in a Ukrainian magazine, I read the interviews of Ivan (20 yo), Lyudmila (71 yo) and Alex (16 yo) describing how they feel living in ‘quarantine’ for the rest of their lives and they finished with what they advise other people entering into quarantine. Upon reading the article, I was touched by how altruistic and positive they remain about their life and how appreciative they are despite the difficult circumstances.
I cried while reading and something inside me told me:
'I need to help. I want them to believe that dreams are real and the world has amazing individuals out there who don’t know them but know their story and are willing and able to help'.
After commenting on the article asking for more information, I was able to connect with the family of each person featured. I’ve been in direct contact now with Ivan’s mother, Lyudmila’s neighbor Nadia, and Alex’s grandmother.
I am here to raise $3,000 for Ivan, Lyudmila, and Alex to fulfill their biggest dreams – an electric wheelchair, to visit another country, and to get eye surgery. I want them to see, feel, and touch how people from around the world want to contribute to their happiness. I want them to say ‘It is the happiest moment of my life. My dream came true!’ We all can make it happen.
And I need YOUR help with this.
We all know how destructive COVID-19 has been to our families and businesses, as well as our personal physical and mental health.So just imagine what a permanent isolation may feel like. There are some people living in isolation their whole life due to their health conditions. They are not able to leave their house at all, regardless of a pandemic. This is the story of three of them.
Story # 1
Lyudmila - 71 years old – inside her home for 1½ years, confined to a wheelchair.
‘Despite all of the diseases, I want to live. I want to do something. Just to sit and complain about my life - this is not what I’m about. If I just sit and do nothing, I cry. I dream of having an eye surgery one day. Once the quarantine is over - go outside, experience joy in your life, be grateful for the sun you get to see every day.’
I worked in a factory my entire life. I worked as a machinist. When I was young, I was very active. I tried to work as much as I could to earn more money. Then I transferred to a different department, where they paid more, but the job was poisonous and harmful to my health. I worked there all my life, and I retired at the age of 45. I had a small farm, vegetable garden and I was very active in it.
But then I got sick: my knees started to hurt. The disease passed on to my shoulders, and now all the joints hurt as well. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. It is an incurable disease that calms down with injections. I cannot live without painkillers for several years. I have to take at least one pill a day. Now it is even worse. My heart got affected as well - my valves are not working properly anymore. In 2014, my husband died, I was left alone. Son with the daughter-in-law live separately and they come when they can. But I do not work anymore and have no income as well. I spend a lot of money on medicine and injections. Since November 2018, my legs completely refused to work: I can't stand on my feet even a minute. Now I only move by the wheelchair that the Red Cross organization gifted me.
I haven’t been outside for a year and a half.The entrance to my building is not equipped with a ramp, and the wheelchair I have is a plastic one - I'm afraid to break it. I had a dog, Phil, with whom I lived for 10 years. My neighbour Nadia always took him for a walk when I couldn't do it anymore. But a year after the dog died, I was left alone completely. Mentally, life is difficult, financially – too. But I hold on. I believe life is still possible. Every week my children bring me food, and my neighbor Nadia buys me medicine every day. I am very lucky to be surrounded by such good people. Recently I celebrated my 71st birthday. There was a small celebration with relatives: the children arrived, Nadia organized everything. She is so active, I tell her that she needs to work for a volunteer organization. I even call her ‘my volunteer’. I am very grateful to have Nadia who supports me every day, does all of my favors, and helps a lot.
I love to cook, but unfortunately, I cannot cook and bake as I used to because of my joints. I ride to the kitchen in a wheelchair and sit there, cooking near the stove, riding to the refrigerator. I also can't survive without work - I clean and sweep in the wheelchair. If I just sit and do nothing, I cry. When I have time, I give the things I do not need any more to the person in my building who gives them to families in need. I used to read a lot, but now my eyesight has worsened and my glasses do not help. Most of all I want to go outside and take a walk. The children used to take me to their house, but I'm a little stubborn: I do not want to be taken somewhere when I feel like a burden to them. I am not healthy enough to be able to leave the house.
Despite all of the diseases, I want to live, I want to do something. Just to sit and complain about my life - this is not what I’m about. Other people might be even be sicker than me and they can't do what I can. So I am very grateful for everything that I have. I know I am a sick person, but at least I dream of having an eye surgery one day. It is a lot of money, but thank God I can still see something for now. I also dream of being able to go outside, but for now, conditions in my building do not allow me to do that.
My advice to people who are in forced into isolation at home now - you need to do things you love doing. Call your children, your friends, and parents, or support your neighbors. As soon as the quarantine and epidemic are over - go outside, experience joy in your life, be grateful for the sun you get to see every day.
Story # 2
Ivan Uzunov, 20 years old - Is in a wheelchair due to the congenital defect of the legs.
‘God blesses all who are currently quarantined so that they have the patience to wait and appreciate life again very soon. I dream of my health to improve, but most of all my dream is to see the world, to visit another country.’
I am 20 years old and I spend most of my time at home. Unfortunately, due to health problems, I was not able to get proper education and work like everyone else. I move in a wheelchair because I have a congenital defect of the legs. I have an old computer but I do not spend a lot of time there because I also have scoliosis of the 4th degree. My parents help me most of the time, especially now during the quarantine. To go outside, I need their help. It is a big advantage that we live in a private house because I can get some fresh air more often. My parents help me to get out of the house, and then I'm on my own. I go outside mostly at noon for a couple of hours.
It doesn't make a big difference in how I spent my time before quarantine, and how I spend it now. However, if before the quarantine I could ride down the street, now I usually ride around the house. I don't feel lonely. At home, I talk to my parents, online - chat with friends. I try to make my life more interesting every day, but in general, it is almost always the same. There is a house and the area around the house - that's all. It is often boring, the days are monotonous, I lack some sort of variety, but I'm used to it. Once I find something to fill my time - I try to do it as much as I can. The main getaway, of course, is the Internet. What do I do there? Besides communication, I read and watch many videos on YouTube. I am very interested in technology, computers, gadgets, and phones.
What can I advise those who are now in isolation? Of course, there is a difference between me and ordinary people who are in quarantine. But I want to advise them to accept it. If you need to wait - then you have to. Of course, it's difficult, but I got used to it. God bless all you who are currently quarantined. With a patience you will be able to appreciate life again very soon. I hope it all passes quickly. I dream of my health to improve, but most of all my dream is to see the world, to visit another country.
Story # 3
Alexander Molochko, 16 years old - Is in a wheelchair due to severe cerebral palsy.
‘He does not have what you call ‘depression’ - he looks happy and is always smiling. Sasha wished the people who are now in isolation to stay strong, healthy, and have a humble life. Sasha’s biggest dream is to have an electric wheelchair that he will be able to operate on his own. His other dream is to have the Internet at home so he can start learning’
- Sasha's story is told by his grandmother
Sasha is 16 years old, he was born and currently lives in Bucha (a small town near the capital of Ukraine). His mother died 8 years ago. His father, my son, after his wife's death, returned to the house we live with my husband. Sasha also has an older sister Darina. Sasha has a severe form of cerebral palsy. He moves in a wheelchair and his left arm does not work.
Sasha doesn't have a computer or access to the Internet, he only has a cellphone. His main source of entertainment is TV. Sasha loves to play on the phone or listen to music when he isn’t watching TV. When it's warm outside, I take Sasha for a walk. However, Sasha is usually in complete isolation during winter.
Despite the hardship, he does not have what you call ‘depression’ - he looks happy and is always smiling. Unfortunately, Sasha can't read. He can't remember the letters because of his illness. He can't write either, because of the same issue. He never went to school. For around 6 years some teachers and specialists worked with him, but nothing changed. We decided to take a break for a few years. Sometimes he tells me, “Grandma, I can't read or write, we need to do something about it.”
The most difficult thing for him is to be home alone. But he overcomes it. He turns on the music and sings along. Oh, he is a loud singer, you can even hear him from the street (smiling). He always wakes up in the mood. He has no such thing as being depressed in the morning - there is always a smile on his face. But something may upset him during the day.
A few years ago, Sasha went to Khadzhibey (north-west of Ukraine) for medical treatment, also he was treated in Truskavets (western Ukraine). Quite recently the city council said there was enough money for Sasha’s rehabilitation. We have already found a clinic in Kyiv that is ready to provide him treatment for this money. They told us that they will be able to teach him how to take care of himself, they say it is possible. We have already planned to take him there, but the quarantine broke our plans. Before the quarantine, Sasha had some visitors from the local college, very nice children, they were very supportive. His sister, Darina, visits him as well and takes Sasha for a walk to the park.
Now during the quarantine, almost no one comes - I take care of Sasha on my own. Sasha wished the people who are now in isolation to stay strong, healthy, and have a humble life. Sasha’s biggest dream is to have an electric wheelchair that he will be able to operate on his own. His other dream is to have the Internet at home so he can start learning.