At only 18 years, old no one should have to live such a difficult, painful, and lonely life as Denis. He's crippled and bedridden, with no family and little hope for a future. This young man grew up in an orphanage in the city of Luhansk, Ukraine, "aging out" at 16 years old as per their procedure. (Can you imagine your 10th grader being thrown onto the streets with no support programs, money, or options? Now think of how difficult their life would be if they faced the same challenge in a poverty stricken and war-torn area just a few miles from the Russian border!)
But Denis faced this challenge head-on, staying in Luhansk in spite of the danger and taking a job with a construction crew shortly after he left the orphanage. But this admirable resolve was met with tragedy as a massive piece of construction equipment fell on him, crushing his spine.
Life in rural Ukraine can be hard enough in times at peace. But in the war-torn areas of eastern Ukraine the difficulty can defy anything we in the US may have experienced in our lives. With no one at his side, Denis was in dire straits. He needed to be moved to a proper medical facility ("proper" is a generous word) and undergo extensive surgery to ever have a chance of walking again. But thanks to the hard work of Marina’s Kids organization that works to improve lives of children of Ukraine and the tremendous compassion and sacrifice of individuals like Julia Zadvorna (who courageously travels for days at a time to visit orphans in eastern Ukraine) Denis successfully underwent the surgery in Odessa.
The good news is that Denis is starting to get sensation in his legs again. But the struggle for this young boy, who has never complained about his plight, has just begun. The road to recovery is long. He needs physical therapy to hope of walking again. But, as an orphan, there's no family to care for him. He's been living in the homes of volunteers who are doing their best to help him recover. But I've seen the very modest homes of these people. They have so little (Ukraine is a poor country) yet are doing so much for this young man. Their generosity in the face of this adversity truly humbles me.
Denis needs at least $4000 worth of therapy in the next few months to get him back on his feet again. He and the incredibly gracious people caring for him need our help. With the current 25-1 exchange rate, US dollars can go a VERY long way in Ukraine; and the people supporting him can be trusted to put every cent to the best possible use. They are miracle workers in every sense, truly angels among us, and sacrifice so much personally to help the children in Luhansk.
This can be a miracle spanning borders, cultures, and generations if enough of us can step forward.
Note: If you would like to contact the inspirational volunteers helping Denis, and donate directly to them you can also do that directly at their website http://marinaskids.info/ Checks and PayPal are preferred, the money is needed urgently, and these two ways will expedite the process.
Please, if you choose these avenues, when making a donation make a note: “Fundraising efforts on behalf of Julia Z."
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have no idea how important this help is.
- Sheila Camacho
- Liberty (Libby) Edwards
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