Новости Донбасса

Donbas children with cancer waging their own war

Donbas children with cancer waging their own war

The conflict in the Donbas made the life difficult for lots of people and for children with cancer too. Journalists of “Donetsk Dialogue”, a program broadcast by “Donbas Public TV”, visited a rehabilitation center “Dacha” for children with cancer and found out how the organization helps children with this serious disease.

Ukrainian Fund “Zaporuka” helps children with cancer to undergo rehabilitation in better conditions. Children from the occupied towns of the Donbas are also there.

Ruslan is active and he is fond of sports. Neither he, nor his mom wants to speak about the disease.
They came to the peaceful territory from the Luhansk region. Their native village was severely damaged by the war. Now it is quiet there, but not safe.

“Children, who have come from the zone of the conflict, were disturbed by the plane overhead. I remember a four-year girl whose name is Eva. She has lived here for a year. Everything was fine; she lived here with her mom and granny. She recovered and went back to Luhansk. Then the war conflict began and Luhansk was bombed. With tears in her eyes, her mom asked us to accept them again as psychological stress influence badly the health of such children. They may provoke a relapse”, says Natalya Onipko, “Zaporuka” charity fund President.  

National Charity Fund “Zaporuka” was set up in 2008. Its main mission is to help children with cancer and their parents. These are the children who are treated in the National Cancer Institute and Children Neurosurgery Clinic. Initially, it was planned to give the name “Smile” to the center, but children themselves call it “Dacha” (summer home).

“Children are comfortable here when they spend the time between chemotherapy sessions in the Cancer Institute”, says Natalya Onipko.

Every day there are minimum 6 families, even with all family members, in the center for cancer patients.

When the conflict in the Donbas started, the number of little patients increased. Children, who started treatment in Donetsk, also come here.

“A lot of children come here and do not want to go back. First, it is psychologically difficult; secondly, there are no medicines; thirdly, doctors have left the occupied territories. So, they cannot get required treatment there”, says Natalya Onipko, the center director.

Many families stayed here for half a year when it was troublesome in their towns. However, sooner or later, they had to leave this reliable place. In fact, families with onco-children get shelter here, in «Zaporuka» when there are intervals in the course of chemotherapy. Children can relax there after medical treatment to accumulate strength to continue their fight for life.

«They are provided with a house and each family has their room. It is very important when treatment lasts for years and it is difficult to stay in hospital all the time. A lot of children call this house a dacha. Children wait for the time when there are no transfusions and they come here», says Natalya Onipko.
«Zaporuka» Fund also helps with medicines. Though, according to the constitution, medicine is free in our country, the real situation is not so bright.

«For example, at the moment the hospital does not have any expensive medicines for transplantation. Our Fund brought drugs worth 750 thousand Hryvnyas for the institute of cancer.  It is not a panacea, but it is enough for the treatment of 5-6 patients who need a transplantation», Natalya explains.
«Our fund does not divide children into those from the peaceful territory and those from the ATO zone because children are waging their own war, and it is hard for them. Taking into account the war in the east, we may say that the situation got worse for everyone; it is especially worse for all children. The situation is psychologically very difficult for the children from the conflict zone as they cannot go back home, and for their moms because they don't know what it is there», the Fund president says.

Children are comfortable at this «dacha» among kids like them. They actively participate in various events arranged for them by the Fund. They enjoy the events arranged by volunteers. They accumulate their strength to conquer their main enemy — oncology.

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