Feb 20, 2019

Dasha's Dream

Dasha with her music idols
Dasha with her music idols

Dear Dacha supporters,

thank you for your donations that make it possible to open the doors of our house for kids with cancer and their family members!

One of these kids is Dasha. She suffered from headaches, nausea and hand tremor but still after all possible diagnoses the correct one was unexpectedly terrible: brain tumor. The girl went for treatment from Mariupol to Kyiv. Then she didn’t know anything about surgeries or radiation therapy and her worst fear was losing her braids. Before her first chemo, the girl’s mom even allowed to paint her hair raspberry pink as it was the hottest new trend. She was happy so much! Just like all the women in the world when they like their reflection in the mirror in a new dress. However, Dasha’s happiness was short-lived as her hair had to be cut off. The girl could not hold back the tears when she spoke about her beautiful hair.

And now the complicated treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a lot of medical tests and other procedures is behind. Once I met her in the stairs at the Dacha and she told me enthusiastically: “I have no more metastases! I had an MRI scan.” It means that soon she will be able to go home and her hair will grow again.

We always try to do our best, so that the girls were not ashamed of changes in their appearance. Our psychologists work with this issue too. However, Dasha got a confidence boost thanks to one meeting. It was Dasha’s impossible dream that came true. The girl is a fan of the Ukrainian pop duo Vremya i Steklo. Listening to their songs helped her in the most difficult moments of treatment.

And then she was invited to participate in a TV show with her favorite musicians! It was a total surprise for her and she even asked to pinch her to confirm that it was real. Her mom was crying behind the scenes like all of us who watched Dasha on TV… And you know what? Dasha was charming: without a headscarf, in a gorgeous dress, with shining eyes and a smile, she was absolutely convinced that she was beautiful and that the world was good and loved her.  

At the Dacha, we create an atmosphere of comfort and love. We do our best to ensure that during a difficult period of their life the families are surrounded by warmth and care and that they can be happy and have their dreams come true in spite of all the hardships.  

At the moment, we are renting the house that in 2018 hosted 70 children with cancer. However, much more families whose children receive treatment at the National Cancer Institute in Kyiv need accommodation. To host them all, we are building a new big Dacha. You can see a picture from the construction site below.

Thank you for your contributions! They help create a place where children feel better than in the hospital.

Dasha is happy when Kyiv Zoo came to the Dacha
Dasha is happy when Kyiv Zoo came to the Dacha
New Dacha in progress
New Dacha in progress
Nov 27, 2018

Stereotypes and Happy Childhood Memories

Makar and his sister
Makar and his sister

Dear friends,

thank you for helping to provide children and their family members with free accommodation at the Dacha!

Today I would like to tell you about 9-year-old Makar. This boy has been on treatment in Kyiv for almost a year. When he receives a chemo cycle or any other therapy, he goes to the hospital. For the rest of the time, Makar lives with his mom at the Dacha. His older sister Ania stays at home in Zaporizzhia, 600 km from Kyiv. She really misses her mom and her little brother. Kids like her often feel left behind and may ask questions like “Are you still my mom or only Makar’s mom?” It’s true that in such a situation mothers tend to devote more time to children who are seriously ill. That’s why we always encourage inviting their family members to the Dacha where they can spend time together. Ania comes to her mom and to Makar regularly and she is happy to be here with them here.

Now only 6 families can get a room at the Dacha. Recently, we have announced the construction of a new bigger center for 15 families. The construction has started but we face a problem that we never expected: the neighbors don’t want to see our Dacha. They don’t want children with cancer in their neighborhood because “they will infect their own children, spoil the aura and reduce the cost of their real estate”. They say “your kids have one or two years left to live and we have our whole lives ahead of us”. Just the same what Makar’s classmates may say when they speak via Skype: “Are you still alive?” That’s what they probably heard from their parents stereotyping.

We know that childhood cancer is not a death sentence. And we believe that every child should have a chance to live. All together we are trying to do our best that kids could have happy childhood memories playing here at the Dacha and forgetting about their disease. And these kids may really forget everything about treatment and pain but they just remember “a big beautiful house” where they had lots of fun. That’s what Sonia told us when she came for a visit as a teenager a few years later after her Dacha experience as a little kid. That’s why we are sure that with your help we will overcome all the obstacles to create a special place where kids can be just kids. Even if they are fighting against cancer.

Thank you for your contributions that make Dacha possible!

Makar and Yeva playing at the Dacha
Makar and Yeva playing at the Dacha

Links:

Nov 27, 2018

Determined Monika Makes Her First Steps

Monika loves her parents
Monika loves her parents

Dear friends,

thank you for supporting Ukrainian kids with cancer!

Today I would like to tell you about 11-year old Monika. Like it often happens, she got a correct diagnosis late. One day the girl got injured but pain passed quickly and the doctors didn’t pay much attention to it. Later complains were mistakenly attributed to viruses and other diseases. Eventually, a tumor was detected when the family went to Armenia to visit their relatives. Monika felt so much pain in the chest that they had to go to the hospital for an X-ray.

Immediately the family came back to Ukraine, to the National Cancer Institute. Here the diagnosis was made and the treatment was prescribed: a surgery to remove an affected part of the rib and chemo cycles. By that time, however, Monika couldn’t walk and had to stay in bed all the time. It was very hard for this active girl but, fortunately, there was a rehabilitation service at the hospital. It was launched by Zaporuka in 2009.

At the beginning, it was very painful for Monika even to put her socks on but she always said: “I would do it myself!” She was very determined to endure anything to be able to walk again. And thanks to many sessions with the physiotherapists, massages and exercises, now Monika can make her first steps with a walker. Her daddy to whom she is very close holds her, so that she could feel safe. At the same time, she receives chemotherapy as a result of which the tumor diminished significantly. The girl feels better and can have lessons with the teachers of the hospital school. She is curious and likes to learn something new.

Your donations make it possible for kids like Monika to get necessary medicines, medical materials, psychological support and rehabilitation. Thank you!

It's always hard to make the first step
It's always hard to make the first step
 
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