My beloved, exquisite, and heroic mother, Tatyana Koltunyuk, was the victim of a shark attack while swimming in Rockaway Beach, NY. She has undergone 5 surgeries in the first 8 days since the attack, and will require more. Her medical team has told us that recovery will take several years of intense physical therapy and close medical monitoring, during which time she will have significantly limited mobility. Though the full impact of her injury is not yet known, it has left her with a permanent disability.
It has become clear in the nightmarish days since her trauma that the expenses for her care and post-trauma adjusted living will be considerable, and will likely include ongoing services and consultations, mobility assistance device(s), intensive physical and psychological therapy, making her home environment accessible and comfortable, and transportation to and from appointments. We can’t yet anticipate everything she will need because the extent of her injuries is unknown; she is still in the hospital and will be for at least several more weeks, and possibly more.
This fiercely intelligent and passionate woman emigrated to the United States from Odessa, Ukraine with my father and me when I was 3 years old. A few weeks after we arrived, my father died of a heart attack, leaving my mother to raise me on her own in a new country. The language barrier prevented my mom from continuing her career as a marine engineer, but she worked tirelessly to support our family. She made sure that I could take ballet lessons and piano lessons and have the best possible education; she took me to art museums and concerts and theater performances; we walked in every garden and park in the city that we could find. She worked a grueling life to ensure that I could thrive.
She is 65 years old and was eagerly anticipating her retirement, when she could — for the first time in her life — take a break. She talked about swimming in the ocean every day, walking around the city with a new puppy, and traveling with us. My husband and I will do everything in our power to make her retirement as comfortable and enjoyable as we possibly can, but the road ahead will be extremely challenging for her and for our family.
Limitless in the love and generosity she showers upon others, my mother is an empathetic, thoughtful, and deeply proud woman who would never ask for anything, always putting others before herself. So we are asking for help on her behalf. The funds raised will be held by her family. Thank you for your support.