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Help that has returned the faith in humanity. BLOG by Maryna Sorokina, Coordinator of Psychological service at Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Centre


We all know the feeling of anxiety when our loved ones are ill. Even if it is an ordinary cold, we immediately get in. We buy medicines and fruits. We phone each other more often and make visits. We insist on seeing a doctor. We calm down, when a loved one is completely recovered, when he or she is out of danger. What if this is a child, and the disease is much more serious than a cold, and the family cannot afford expensive medications or treatment? And what if a loved one was wounded during the military actions, and the family had already had to tighten their belts because of the war and there is no money even for the bandaging materials? What if the resources have been depleted long ago and there’s no one to turn to? And when it comes to human life, especially if there is a chance survive but there is no money for the expensive medications and treatment? Terror and despair steal upon a person in such a critical situation, because many families cannot cope with the problem themselves.

The war, which has swept the east of Ukraine for the last several years, takes not only lives, but also human health. Since the beginning of the hostilities, the “Targeted Assistance” programme, operating within the framework of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, has come to the aid of those who are in desperate need. It managed to help more than 50 thousand of Donbas civilians - for many it equalled the chance for life.

Medicines, supplies, equipment for surgeries, assistance with the heart defects treatment, rehabilitation of the injured, the best clinics and specialists of the highest category. All efforts of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center are aimed at promptly, systematically helping the children and adults in need.

There is, probably, no more suffering for the parents than the illness of their child. In such a situation they experience fear, anger, despair, resentment and powerlessness... Unfortunately, according to the leading Ukrainian experts and doctors, the state medicine’s possibilities are limited.

However, the sad story of a little Mariupol resident Vova Zharykov, due to Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s help, ended happily. A little talented musician had almost to say goodbye to the cause of his whole life – music, because of a rare disease. When he was 3 years old, the doctors discovered a cyst in the boy’s humerus and the child was operated on. The disease gave up. Vova was enthusiastically engaged in music, all teachers talked the boy was very talented, but then the pain returned, and the doctors’ verdict was disappointing. The cyst has corroded the part of a bone and has formed the void, which needed to be filled with a bioimplant - an expensive powder that replaces bone tissue. His mom Svitlana brings up the boy alone. The family had no money for such an operation. Rinat Akhmetov Foundation came to the rescue. The boy was operated on and was able to return to his favourite occupation. The eyes of Vova playing the flute, shine with joy. Another child got a chance to live a full-fledged life. Such stories of saving lives and health of little Donbas residents is already up to five thousand.

Unfortunately, some of the diseases will remain for life. Support of the little ones’ existence, alleviation of their suffering, being able to live a full-fledged life depends on the availability of certain medications. Within the framework of “Medications for Children” programme, 3,549 sets were issued, including insulin, test strips, anticonvulsants and antiasthmatics. Every person, even being light years from medicine, understands that without medications little lives can be cut off at any time.

Thanks to the large-scale projects “Healthy Heart”, “Rehabilitation” and “Medications for Children”, which have existed for years, more than 10 000 people received an aid  for treatment.

The war deeply strikes the hearts of thousands of people throughout the country... When such terrible events occur, people’s basic trust in the world around becomes immediately violated. Victims of the war see everything as ominous, full of unpleasant surprises. In such a world it is impossible to trust people and hope for help. The psychologists will have to work with the consequences  of post-trauma stress disorder for more than one year. And what if physical suffering is added to the emotional burden? What if you need help right here and now? Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center provides such kind of support. The timely outstretched hand of charity helps not only to heal corporal wounds, the help heals the souls, returns the faith in humanity. The future seems not so frightening and the strengths come back. Feelings of total loneliness, uselessness, abandonment go away. Life becomes filled with the sense of purpose again.

I’d like to finish the article with a well-known quotation from Erich Maria Remarque: “In dark times, you can clearly see bright people.” Let bright people be next to you!