Add a comment
The Grishko family consists of five members. They live in a Ukrainian town of Pology in the Zaporizhzhia region. Inna is the youngest daughter. She is just eleven years old. In 2007 Inna was diagnosed with cervical spine cord tumor which threatened her with paralysis. Fortunately a long and complicated surgery in Kyiv brought the girl into remission. Inna was finally back to life and could again enjoy being an ordinary healthy child.
However, this nightmare called cancer showed up again in 2013…
The only chance for this eleven-year old girl to defeat the insidious disease is to undergo surgery in the Moscow Neurosurgical Institute named after Burdenko. The surgery costs almost 108,000 hryvnyas (that is approximately 8,308 US dollars). Inna’s parents can never raise such a big amount of money. Inna’s father is the only person who earns the living. Inna’s mother has been always around her daughter for the last seven years.
The third floor of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Children’s Hospital. The first surgical department with little cancer patients. There are two more small children together with Inna in the ward. Aggressive chemo rounds made these little martyrs bald and weak – just like fading flowers. Their eyes still reflect life, though.
Inna keeps lying on her right side – that’s the only more or less comfortable position for the girl. The growing tumor has blocked Inna’s ability to walk. She can barely move her left hand. What’s more her limp issues have worsened again.
Klaudia, Inna’s mother sits beside her daughter. She strokes her daughter and tells me her seven-year story of a severe battle with cancer and rare moments of remission. The woman tries to look strong and courageous but her tremulous voice does betray her at times.
Everything started when Inna was four years old. During a party at the kindergarten the teacher noticed that Inna could not raise her arm while she was dancing. The little girl couldn’t raise her arm even after she was asked to do it.
Endless and ineffectual consultations with neuropathologists became a new reality for little Inna. All the examinations, tests and procedures did not result in any progress. Inna’s arm was becoming weaker with her muscles being atrophied. Soon her legs started to fail as well. Three months later after long doctor-to-doctor visits, the scan revealed a tumour in the cervical spine cord. To express Inna's diagnosis in complicated medical terms it is cervical intramedullary pilocytic astrocytoma. The tumour affected the nerves which enabled Inna’s walking abilities. Surgery was the only way out for Inna.
Inna’s case turned out to be rather complicated. During three-hour surgery in the Kyiv Neurosurgery Institute, the surgeons managed to remove just a part of the tumour. The surgery made Inna almost fully paralyzed and dependent on expensive medicine. However, step by step, day by day Inna’s body has showed great signs of recovery.
“Inna has entered into the stage of remission, - recollects Klaudia. Well, my daughter was still limping but she could again attend school. We also kept on taking MRT (magnetic resonance tomography) scan twice a year”.
Last September Inna was not suddenly again be able to raise her arm. Then another MRT followed which showed the continuing growth of the tumour. On October 23rd Inna was taken to the hospital again. Here the girl celebrated her 11th birthday. She couldn’t complete her fourth grade,” – Klaudia says sadly.
Inna has overcome five chemo therapy rounds by now. Another two chemo therapies in Kyiv were planned but had to be postponed due to a sudden decrease of thrombocytes.
Inna is a silent, chemo exhausted girl. Chemo therapies mean just the start of a long treatment journey. When I saw Inna’s photos I could hardly believe that the happy girl stroking a grey cat and cuddling with a plaster wolf is the same emaciated cancer sick girl in the ward. The difference is truly immense.
Fortunately it is still possible to conquer Inna’s disease. The physicians from the Moscow Neurosurgical Institute named after Burdenko have agreed to operate the girl. According to the Russian cancer specialists Inna’s recovery chances are pretty high – up to 80%.
There is no time to lose. On June 16th Inna with her mom should be already in Moscow. The surgery costs 315,000 Russian roubles which is almost 108,000 Ukrainian hryvnyas or 8,308 US dollars. There are also other important expenses such as surgical preparation, postsurgical rehabilitation and managing life in a foreign country for a while.
It is heartbreaking to see how helpless you are sometimes when your child is seriously sick. The Grishko Family is not going to give up. Let’s help little Inna to become a healthy girl again! Every dollar you transfer is one step closer to the girl’s recovery!