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“If I experienced and overcame such sufferings, someone needs it.”

August 6, 2007, 3:15 3802 Author: Yurij Gayev (translated from Russian by Natalia Guzenko) Ukrainian newspaper "Facts" The heroine of the Facts newspaper, that is a prisoner of a wheelchair Irina Gavrisheva from Zaporozhye, is now among the group of volunteers that help to the children that have oncological diseases

The heroine of the Facts newspaper, that is a prisoner of a wheelchair Irina Gavrisheva from Zaporozhye, is now among the group of volunteers that help to the children that have oncological diseases.

A reader of the “FACTS” newspaper from Zaporozhye Evdokiya Voloshina sent a letter to the editors office in which she told that while visiting her relative at the Regional Children Hospital she saw a lady that astound her. “First I thought that she is the patient of the department, a young pretty girl in the wheelchair was sitting in the corridor and talking to some friends. Such a thing happened at some weekends, but not at the workdays. I was quite curious and that’s what I found out. This lady is a volunteer and she puts the information about the unhealthy children to Internet and also found the sponsors for them. Together with the other enthusiasts she organized a holiday for the kids. Her story astonished me. One can be proud of such people and admire their deeds.”

The lady in the wheelchair that so much astonished our reader is Ira Gavrisheva. “FACTS” were publishing a story about the way this girl courageously struggles her ailment at the end of 2005. During this time there were a lot of significant events in the life of Irina.

Yurij Gayev

“FACTS” (Zaporozhye)

“If I experienced and overcame such sufferings, someone needs it.”

Irishka was 9 when she hurt her right knee. The graze healed, but the bone was still hurting. The doctors were trying to cure the leg, but it was unsuccessful. The girl had to use the crutches, she was very weak. Once she fell down, and soon after that she stopped walking at all. Ira was transferred from one hospital into another. The council of physicians was organized, the diagnosis was changed again and again, but no one knew what to do with the patient. And she couldn’t breathe without the machine by that time, experienced the condition of apparent death, deglutitive (swallowing) muscles failed to perform. Ira’s parents were sure that the doctors were waiting the lethal outcome. After all, the patient was discharged from hospital as incurably invalid.

In the year of 2000, after the mother could not anymore stand daughter’s suffering, she wrote a letter to Leonid Kuchma. She was pleading only one thing: the doctors should after all pay attention to the child. Ira was taken to the diagnostic study at the regional children hospital, where everything was again repeating: respiratory failure, heart failure, intensive care. The doctors were preparing the relatives to the worst.

At last the diagnosis was stated: myasthenia, also known as Goldflam disease, a rare neuromuscular illness, that is characterized by pathological striated muscle fatigability. The Gevarishev took their daughter to one of Kiev hospitals, where there is a myasthenia centre. They were taking the child by plane with doctor’s supervision. During the flight the air into her lungs was manually pumped with the help of the special system. In Kiev the ambulance took the child to the reanimation right from the airdrome. But the doctors refused to operate the half dead patient.

Then there were other hospitals of Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kiev again. Besides all that, there was the tumor found in Ira’s breast (the tumor is not excised yet), that caused awful pain when it was pressing the lymphatic flows, it felt like the skin was exfoliating. There was a moment, when the mother fell on her knees in the hospital room and cried out: “Oh God, if you think that this is the way it should be, you can take my daughter away. It would be very painful, but I can not see her suffer anymore.”

Another critical moment in Ira’s life happened when Ira had third heart failure – for half an hour! Because of the long-term oxygen deprivation Ira was in coma for almost a month. At the day when the lady was turning 16 she was unconscious. And when she emerged from coma, she found out that she unlearned to read and write. The doctors did not operate such a difficult patient. Having realized, that she would stay in the wheelchair forever, Ira Gavrisheva experienced a horrible depression, as she admitted, she didn’t want to live. But gradually, having cried and thought everything over, there were completely different thoughts on her mind. Those were the clear, optimistic thoughts: “If I experienced and contrary to everything overcame such sufferings, someone needs it.”

She wanted to live. She wanted to live intensively, be useful. While laid in the hospital she was steadily thumbing books. In two months she was able to read again, in half a year, she could write, worked on a used computer that her parents bought, continued the school education that was interrupted by the illness, finished 10th form with excellent grades. The teachers came at home to the diligent pupil.

- I don’t want to load anyone and don’t want people to pity me. I never let the illness order about. Life is not yet over, it has changed, having gained the new quality – the girl in the wheelchair said a year and a half ago to the author of these lines.

“Who will carry her on the stairs?” – the dean of university admission office asked”

Having decided to connect life with Medical science, Ira decided to enter Zaporozhye Medical University after school. “I have understood, that this is what I want to do. – the lady explained to me – I want to study the physiology of reanimation.” Having wished the strong-willed lady luck, I asked her to write me e-mails.

The first letter arrived a year ago, in June 2006. Ira shared her ideas: “I finished school with excellent marks. We went to the Medical University to the rector. He promised to solve the problem with the entry dictation, so that I could type it on the computer. All these days I am learning Biology and Chemistry. It’s difficult, besides, I am very nervous.”

In a month there was the conclusion: “Today mother went to the dean of the university admission office, he reacted in the only way: “There can be no talks about the learning of your daughter in our Medical University!” The reasons that he named we “truly ones”: “Who will be carrying her on the stairs? How will she pass the practice work in the hospitals?” Indeed, one can get really desperate at such moments! I am not asking to be taken to the university without the exams or to be given the degree right away. I ask only for one thing – to take into account my impossibility to write fast. Mother got the answer: there is absolutely no law about any special conditions for me. And I get angry and offended, for even the doctors, that understand better than the others, that the legs, that do not work, do not influence the possibility to study – even they treat me as mentally unhealthy.

But the dark stripes in life were changed into the light ones, about which Ira told me too. Having taken part in the competition “First Step to Success” she won the first tournament, and in the June of the previous year she went to Kiev at the meeting with Katerina Yushenko and other famous women in Ukraine. The competition, that aimed to acquaint people with the socially active ladies, included writing of the composition at the topic “I Am The Leader”. The authors of 50 best compositions were invited to the capital Ukrainian House. Irina Gavrisheva was not only among the invited – her composition was one of three best, and it was published in the newspaper “Day”. Here are some lines of the composition consisting the ideas of 21-year old lady:

“Do all people understand the fact that a woman, an invalid, can be socially active? From my own experience I know, that it is not so. I know that people think that me and the people like me are unhappy and unable to do anything. But I not only want, I can be the leader, I can do social work not worse than the healthy men. That is so because I know better than many others what indeed people, especially invalids, need.”

“Being a journalist I earn money for Internet and the ice-cream”

In half a year I was reading a new report about busy life of Irina Gavrisheva. “From the representative of The Ministry of Justice we found out, that in the university they illegally refused to us. Now we will go to court and will be questioning there the truthfulness of University and Medical Care Office actions. In order not to waste a year, I started to lead an active search of work. To my surprise I found that I am good in writing articles. That’s how I now earn money for Internet and ice-cream, thus becoming financially independent from parents in such little things.”

But most surprising is another thing. Having received the task from “Ukrainskaya Pravda” to write an article about kids with oncological illnesses, I entered on of the sites and at the first page I saw a picture of the child, that was having a course of cure in Zaporozhye, in the same department where I nearly died. I looked at the photo and understood, that this is my way. The other day I got in touch with a volunteer, a young guy that is helping the oncologically diseased children. And now since August we are together looking for the sponsors for the kids, that would buy all the necessary equipment to the department of Hematology for the Regional Children Hospital…

That’s what we call the irony of fate. When 7 years ago I was leaving this department, I refused to myself never to approach to it. And life changed so that now I am one of the activists. And for the first time in all these years I stopped blaming myself for surviving, when my friends didn’t.”

- I admire this lady, she overcame such things! – that’s what the chief nurse of the Hematology department of Zaporozhye Regional Children Hospital Irina Pavlenko says. – When the volunteers appeared in our department even the psychological atmosphere changed here. They did so many things: they bought very good medicaments, special couch, on which we make the injections, the fridge. And it’s surprising, how are children eager to see the volunteers! Even mothers wipe off their tears, when they see, that someone cares about their kids.

The Gavrishevs have a son, he is married and lives separately. So dad and mom are fully thinking only about their daughter. It is financially difficult for Ira’s parents. A long time ago in order to take care about the daughter, mother left her job of the library worker in school, and she is retired now. The father, the engineer of the higher category is working at the factory as the oderly electrician. Three years ago they changed thei apartment at the 5th floor to a private house, in order to be “closer to the earth”. Ira knows, that she is doomed to live taking the pills. Her heart, liver and brain is affected with the numerous illnesses and pills. But the lady is talking about it with ease, with the wish of struggle, not asking the pity of the person she is talking to. All Gavrishevs are like that – they overcome all the difficulties strongly, they are easy to talk to. They believe in God, he has saved Ira so far. And every day they are asking God to heal their daughter.

- We are optimists and we always support each other – Ira’s mother Natalia Anatolyevna says. – The illness made all of us be closer together, it taught us a lot of things. We are one united entity.

- I can’t understand, how can one leave the family, if the child is an invalid? – father Aleksandr Sergeyeich says. – I sacrifice nothing for my daughter that is my way of life. Her illness can’t be cured, and there always is the risk of another worsening and reanimations. We are ready to that.

- There is plenty of work in the hospital, and it brings me the moral satisfaction – that’s what Ira Gavrisheva says – Now we are involved in register of the new fond “Happy Child”. All other plans are delayed so far, including the university. I want to study, but who will take care of the children? The new volunteers will arrive, at least a couple of people, and then I will think about the Higher Educational Establishment.

She loves the band “Okean Elzi” and she attends the band’s concert in Zaporozhye. After the concert that recently took place, she got acquainted with the musicians personally. The program song of Slava Vakarchuk “Jan e zdamsya bez boya” (“I won’t give up without a struggle”) is about such strong in spirit people as Ira Gavrisheva.

Translated by Natasha Guzenko for www.deti.zp.ua

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