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"A smile in the face of cancer" - party in the children's hematology department of Zaporozhye, Ukraine

November 6, 2006, 0:00 12206 Author: A. Pavlov (translated to English by Yulya Mirnaya) Orphanages of Zaporozhye, Ukraine

Children forgot about their illnesses

Children in the Zaporozhye State Children's Hospital's oncology ward have had more than their fair share of pain and suffering.

But today, for the first time in a long while, there are no traces of tears on their faces. Today there are no screams of pain within the hospital's walls- only laughter.

Even during painful medical procedures our children could not hide their excitement for to the upcoming programme. They were eagerly waiting for clowns and presents.

This amount of cameras were last witnessed during the Presidential election

At midday, media representatives were amongst our first visitors. To be honest, we, the volunteers, did not anticipate this amount of media attention.

As well as the radio and newspaper journalists, there were at least 6 TV channels, including 3 with national coverage (Inter, STB and ICTV). Our volunteer Sveta Chumachenko was responsible for the event's media promotion. She put a tremendous amount of effort in her task. Thank you Sveta!

Drips are not obstacles to Kirill and little Dennis's enjoyment of the celebration

Finally, as children and adults were watching with anticipation, two clowns began their performance. Anyone could see how happy our little angels were. Children's happiness was well reflected in the adults' teary eyes ….

Dear God, please save these children, let them leave this hospital healthy.

Today, more than ever we believe it is possible.

How wonderful would it be if Katia, Roma, Vladik and Yura (children who died four months before we got involved with the hospital) could witness this celebration of life. I am sure they are smiling as they are looking down on us........

The clowns found a key to our little angels' hearts

The children could not take their eyes away from clowns, eagerly taking part in the programme. Older kids were also intrigued, not the least by the television cameras- this amount of cameras was last witnessed during the Presidential election

At last Kirill and little Dennis joined the celebration. They were determined to come and see the clowns- despite being in the middle of their drip session. Only one boy, in the methotrexate unit, was unable to leave his room as he was connected to the infusion pump. Not to worry, he also received his present.

Ruslan Polonikov with his mother

Finally, the clowns were giving out presents. Somebody received a magnetic constructor "Geomag" (for children from 3-99 years old) Someone became a proud owner of a board game and a ceramic art set. Everyone was grateful to the sponsors who had helped in purchasing the presents.

Here come the presents!

Hospital's medical personnel, parents and volunteers were all asked for an interview. Doctors were inclined to take an " official" position thanking the Ukrainian government for their support. The question on everyone's lips " what support exactly?" was left unanswered…

Just a remider: the blood separator urgently required for the survival of our children is not yet purchased. There is a tender for the separator in question, but it has already been two months since its commencement. Evidently, children cannot wait this long. Two little children have already died. The official position of the government- black letter law requires tender being held for the purchase of this type medical equipment. Fair enough, but how many more lives will be lost before the separator is acquired?

The Chief of Staff mentioned government officials whose help has been invaluable to the hospital. It is a mystery, however, in what shape or form these officials managed to help the hospital over the years. What role did they play in organising this event?

Lena, mother to a four-year-old Vladik, is in the middle of her interview to the "Inter" channel.

An opportunity to tell their side of the story was also presented to the parents and volunteers. According to them, the situation within the hospital is not as idyllic as the Chief of Staff perceives. It turns out that majority of life-saving medication must be financed by the parents. They all live in fear that if the money for medication runs out, their children's treatment will be withdrawn.

Grandmother to a five-year-old Zachary (Leukaemia) is speaking to the "STB" channel

It is also apparent that the government is unable to assist with the bone marrow transplant operations. This type of operation costs from $ 65 000 ( in Belarus) to $ 150 000 ( in Israel). Two of the Zaporozhye children are urgently required to have this proseudure. It is their only chance. The Chief of Staff and majority of doctors were for some reason reluctant to mention that…

In the far, Tamara Evgenievna (Chief of Staff) is giving an interview

Nevertheless, doctors expressed their gratitude to the sponsors who purchased quartz (antibacterial) lamps as a lot of children die from the infections that these lamps can eradicate. However, we cannot help but wonder why these relatively cheap lamps ( $ 25 per lamp) were not purchased earlier. Why was the hospital's administration not proactive enough? Children's lives were at stake!

Now the oncology ward in the Zaporozhye State Children's Hospital has a computer, internet, laser printer and scanner.

Alas, the celebration came to an end. Nevertheless, we believe that there are many more awaiting our children in the future.

We would like to specially thank the following people who made today possible:

Wes Peterson, Utah, USA. Mr. Peterson collected money for the purchase of a computer and a refrigerator for the ward. Wes was also the initiator of the event.

Zaporozhye Hematology Dept. Party & Medication Donations:

$100.00 Lesley Lachance ($25. for Party $75. for Medication)

$20.00 Carma Davison

$12.50 Ken Taylor

$12.50 Curtis Bacciocco

$20.00 Nancy Vandernine

$20.00 Bobby Rank

$20.00 Wes Peterson

$50.00 Norrine Johnson

$100.00 Jeff Bigelow

$355. Total

Zaporozhye Hematology Dept. Equipment Donations

$200. Bobby Rank

$600. Wes & Susy Peterson

$800. Total

We would also like to thank Irina Gavrysheva and her mother Natalia Anatolievna who collected $ 170 for quartz lamps.

We are grateful to our volunteers for successfully organising this event and, of course, all other donors for their financial and other support

Children, their parents, doctors and volunteers are very grateful to you all!

Two old refrigerators did not have enough space to store food for 25 of the ward's patients. The new refrigerator is more than capable to do so.

In conclusion it must be pointed out that the objective of this event was not only to raise our children's spirits.

We also wanted to raise awareness amongst Ukrainians as to the need of helping children suffering from cancer . At present Ukrainians have not being as willing to help as our foreign friends.

We would also like to see more volunteers joining our organisation. Children and their families should not feel alone in their fight against the illness.

The clowns will soon join the team of our volunteers

All of the above was mentioned to the journalists, but unfortunately not all of the media representatives took our words close to their hearts. Some TV channels just showed a grey, short feature of today's event without even mentioning our coordinates. Consequently, those willing to help could not get in touch with our organisation…

Nevertheless, we are very satisfied with today's action and are hoping that this type of event becomes a tradition. Next time we are planning to organise something similar for the New Year's Eve.

We want to hear our children's laughter everyday. Please help us to fulfil this aim.

Thank you!

Write to us: detizp@mail.ru

Or call: +3 8 066 513 34 35 (Albert, speaks English)

Zaporozhye State Children's Hospital, the Hematology and Oncology Ward: +3 8 061 2222 150


Check on computer and refrigerator ARDO

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