Recently the Director of Caritas Kyiv together with Fr. Roman Zholobchuk from the Slavutych parish visited the family of 7 year old Victoriya who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2. They passed along money raised during an Easter fundraiser held to collect money to help fund cancer treatment for children. The fundraiser started on 1 March and lasted through 15 April in most UGCC parishes in Kyiv.
Seven year old Victoriya Kostiv was born in Slavutych. Her father is an Afghan War veteran; her mother is an elementary school teacher. At the age of two doctors found a cancerous tumour in Victoriya’s left kidney. This was the start of her long treatment in the Kyiv Regional Cancer Clinic where a CAT scan showed a stage 4 tumour and metastasis to the lungs. She received 19 courses of chemotherapy; she lost her hair, had her left kidney surgically and endured other difficulties.
“We can see an improvement in her condition: Vika is physically active, feels all right, her hair has grown back but she still needs medicines and constant medical care.
Soon we will travel to Moscow for treatment which will cost 35,000 UAH. We’ve already spent a ton of money for the diagnosis, treatments and have quite large debts…” explains Victoriya’s father.
Caritas Ukraine and its local branches make a special effort to assist children diagnosed with cancer; they raise funds in Ukraine and abroad, purchase medical equipment and medicines, provide direct assistance, psychological counselling and rehabilitation for children. Funding for the Medical and Rehabilitative Assistance to Patients of the Western Ukrainian Children’s Medical Centre project is practically exhausted. This project was funded by the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Australia. It was funded with nearly 2.5million UAH; unfortunately these funds are running out and dozens of parents are still making appeals for assistance.
Caritas Kyiv held a unique fundraiser where donors were given Easter baskets. These baskets were decorated by Caritas’ child clients under the guidance of artist Inna Bedrykivs’kyy. The children who decorated the baskets were from the street children project and children from crisis, multi-child and disadvantaged families. These disadvantaged children all wanted to help those who are ill.
The children decorated over 50 Easter baskets for which they received 9,140 UAH. This money they gave to Victoriya Kostiv to help with the costs of her treatment.
“There’s a lesson in this to be learned about doing good deeds—whatever your situation, you can always help others with a kind word, a smile or by making something. This builds character in adults and children. They were very eager to work so that they could raise more money,” emphasized Fr. Roman Syrotych, Director of the local Caritas.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone who helped. I would especially like to thank Caritas Kyiv who once again came to our assistance [in 2009 they helped with medicines], specifically Fr. Roman Syrotych, Director of Caritas Kyiv and Fr. Roman Zholobchyk from Slavutych who supported us, Volodymyr and Inna Bedrykivs’kyy [Volodymyr is Honoured member of the Ukrainian Bar, Inna is an artist], who made donations to help our child,” said Vasyl Mykolayovych, Victoriya’s father, with tears in his eyes.