The ROCOR Head Sisters Committee and I are undertaking a fundraising appeal to raise essential funds for our beloved priest and friend, Fr Mark Woloszyn, for his upcoming surgery, which is now urgent. Funds will also support his family through this challenging time.
In 2003, Fr Mark Woloszyn (priest at Pokrov, Melbourne) was involved in a serious car accident where he suffered several serious injuries, the most serious being a type 2 odontoid fracture. The odontoid is the boney point at the top of the spine, on which one’s skull turns and pivots (this is a simple layman's explanation). After two weeks at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, it was decided that the broken vertebrae and odontoid would be screwed together. It was a dangerous procedure, but by God’s mercy, Fr Mark survived.
In May of 2022, Fr Mark fell off a ladder at his family farm. An initial X-ray found that the titanium screw which held his upper vertebrae and skull (as it were) had snapped in half, along with a couple of herniated discs below the broken screw pressing into the spinal cord, causing neurological issues. Fr Mark’s Orthopedic surgeon has advised that with the break of the titanium screw, those bones which should have fused together (when they were screwed together 19 years ago) never healed; there is a nice clean space between where there should be fused bone. This leaves Fr Mark with an unstable upper vertebra and skull fracture.
The pain for Fr Mark is quite a challenge, and he is very limited in his daily life. Fr Mark and his Matushka have three children of school age, a farm to look after, and all of his priestly duties that he faithfully fulfils. Fr Mark must be very careful not to fall or do anything to aggravate the pain and possibly worsen his condition. Urgent surgery is now required to fuse the neck and will require additional plating and screws and a bone graft, and depressurising the herniation on the upper spinal cord. It will be a risky intervention that will require both an orthopaedic and neurosurgeon due to the complexity of the surgery.
The surgery cost is likely between $45,000 to $75,0000, including additional expenses for complications arising from the operation and post-operation recovery and rehabilitation. Funds for the surgery are required in the next four weeks as the surgery is expected to be scheduled sometime in November/December 2022. All monies raised will be sent to the Diocese bank account and paid directly to Fr Mark's surgeons before the operation and to pay for any post-surgery expenses.
Fr Mark’s original compensation policy from 19 years ago will not cover this additional surgery, and Fr Mark does not have health insurance. For Fr Mark to continue supporting his family and parishioners, the only solution is to have surgery to stabilise his neck and minimise his pain. This will mean raising funds necessary to ensure Fr Mark can get the medical attention he needs. The alternative is that Fr Mark may need to go on a disability support pension and would not be able to support his family or parish.
We need your help and support
Most often, it is the priest that is providing support and assistance to people. Most often, a priest will not speak out about his need, suffering or troubles as he does not want to burden those around him, not out of arrogance, but out of sincere love and care for his flock.
BUT there are times when a priest needs assistance, and this is just such an instance.
We ask that you give and give generously to help support one of our beloved and faithful clergy who prays on our behalf constantly and looks after our souls.
- Ephraim The Syrian
- Nicodemus Smith
Organizer and beneficiary
Fr Stephen David
Council of Russian Orthodox Diocese Abroad