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“I know one cannot save the whole world but I also know that it is possible to save at least one person” – Iryna Gavrysheva, a volunteer
Iryna Gavrysheva was literally one of the founders of the “Happy Child” charity foundation. She joined the team of volunteers who helped sick children at the time when the Happy Child did not formally exist yet. In 2006 Iryna called the present director of the “Happy Child” – Albert Pavlov with an offer “I wanna help” and immediately started to work.
From the very first moment and until her moving to Kyiv Iryna was one of the “fire balls” of the foundation. After she moved to live in the capital city, she continued to support the children of the “Happy Child” and everyone who needed help.
Iryna’s farewell message as well as her life itself inspire everyone of us to love life and struggle for it.
Iryna Gavrysheva left this wonderful message for everyone of you:
“If you are reading this…” – is this the way one should start such letters, isn’t it? I used to love melodramas in my childhood. I loved such movies where there is love despite severe health struggles; where at the end of the corridor comes the doctor who avoids looking at you and desperately waggles his head. Then there comes a funeral, sobbing relatives, the sea of flowers, farewell speech and such goodbye notes as “if you are reading this, it means…”. It seemed romantic and correct to me.
Then I grew up. The thought that my life would end in the same soup opera way started to scare me. Sweaty resuscitators who break your ribs in an attempt to start your heart and fainting family members– this all began to frighten me. The way I am and the way I live – I’d love to leave this world differently.
The body in a coffin covered with flowers…No way! First of all, I want to be seen in my ripped jeans and a T-shirt printed with “RIDE TILL THE END” – when I was buying it I’d already known that I would flaunt it not only during my life journey but start my journey to Heaven wearing it as well. Secondly, a big piece of my life I was engaged (am engaged…hmmmm what tense should I use? ? ) in charity projects. It happened that health care charity interested me the most. I help to raise the money so that someone would get his or her chance for life or some sort of relief. These chances cost money. This all means specific amounts of money. It all depends on your luck - some people need thousands, some millions of hryvnyas, and so for someone to get his\her chance I have to ask other people to “donate, please”. I don’t like to write something like “Give up your morning cup of coffee”. It is not my philosophy to encourage people to take up the ascetic life. However since it concerns me personally – I have my right to insist on some things – do not make lawns around my grave, do not spoil my image (a terrifying Pterodactyl in flowers - it is too sweet). The money you were going to spend for bouquets of flowers and wreaths – put into an envelope and this will become a chance for someone who is still alive. I will survive without flowers in my coffin (LOL), I swear! This money will definitely become a chance for someone (I even know these names!) This money will be a chance for tomorrow or at least for an easier today.
In Britain people honour the memory of their dear ones by erecting benches in parks or public gardens. I find it a wise social memory. The bench in memory of Pterodactyl seems something new, though! However, if someone needs to feel the “memory of Pterodactyl”, let it be better a bench in the garden than a piece of granite in the cemetery. The best would be some useful equipment in my beloved Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Center or hospice or a patient with some weird palliative diagnosis – there are so many of them.
In case you might get me wrong – the bench at my grave does not count!
I was a maximalist as a teenager. “To rescue life at any price” – this was about me and people around me. My mission as a volunteer was to save people. But there came the moment when I became sick and tired of it…of saving others (gosh, they were not saved), of saving myself. When I was told that all the treatment options were over, my first thought was “Finally!” . From that very day knowing I had limited time I embraced unspoken freedom. I had freedom to do whatever I wanted today. I could do things which brought me joy and happiness. I had no need to sacrifice something to have tomorrow. There might be no tomorrow anyway. Three years of life filled with happiness despite slow fading away. However three years of SUCH life thanks to support of people around. It only seems that “we cannot help you anymore” and everything is over. In fact, here begins a challenge. From month to month, you need more support whereas your abilities are wearing out. Each new day means lots of medications, helpful gadgets etc. Well, you are free not to buy anything – you’re doomed to die anyway. However, when you still can do something – you don’t feel like lying down and dying. You want to use the time left. It costs money, though. It costs strength of people around you because your own strength is running out.
Friends, who after a phone call rushed to “babysit Pterodactyl”, who at the middle of the night brought the desired hamburger or pulled the sledges to the hill with a stuffed Pterodactyl, who cooked yummy things at the kitchen – without all of them these three years would be totally different. People donated their money for me even knowing I would never become healthy again…Thanks to all of you I had everything I needed. I really had all and everything, even more than more promising patients. Thanks to my awesome room, which was just like a fully equipped intensive care unit – I continued to live. I continued to live, not to exist. Just the way I wanted.
You usually do not die of some illness right away. It takes time. It takes money. It takes big money to die with dignity. It takes a lot of money and great efforts to make it less cruel. Every person deserves to end his\her life path with dignity. Every person deserves to leave without pain and sufferings. Here, at the edge, it is much more exciting to do something for others. It feels deeper. You won’t be able to correct or play it back. You only have one chance to share someone’s path, making it as easy as possible. Just one time. With no right for mistake. With a special feeling if you succeed. At least a little bit. If you put at least a little effort – you will definitely succeed. I know that.
I suspect that “then” many people will write something about me. About what sort of person I was…Actually there were many articles about me when I was alive, which rather sounded like obituaries. It is sad I won’t read or troll these comments with a smiley. For those who are going to write – I hope you know I can’t stand pathos and admiration. :) If someone really wishes to express your admiration – you can do it by means of donation to Palliative programme “Live each second, live every moment”. =) Don’t admire me in texts, please! Deal? =)
There is the link for flowers for Pterodactyl: https://www.facebook.com/palliative.life/posts/725791320890754
People say there is paradise somewhere. There is an ideal world without pain and sufferings. It is cool. But I keep on thinking – what shall I do there? What shall I really do without health reports, tricky rehabilitation devices and “donate, please…”? It was my life these latest nine years. What shall I do where medical experts and fundraisers are not wanted? Hopefully I will find my purpose there…You all have this world…where people need help of each other. Where the only way to survive is to stand shoulder to shoulder. Where not only a strong one will defend the weak but even the weakest can do a lot for his\her neighbor.
I have done my job. =) You all seem to have plenty of work, though.”
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Publications made by Happy Child, Ukraine