Before I get to the reason for the title I will bring you up to date on a few other items:
- The hockey school as continued everyday with each one better than the previous! The coaches at the Orphanage are very excited with the progress of the students as well as the coaching training they are receiving.
- Neil & Lisa have spent everyday visiting families in the Guardian Angel Program and have managed to take several of the other delegates with them from time to time to see the challenges and witness the many successes that this program has enjoyed.
- I have continued to help Stephen when I can with his Internet development program and am fascinated by the army of students (as well as several interpreters and staff) that he has working their hearts out on this. Here is a picture of some of the team hard at work:
Today was a special day for Canadians as we helped to celebrate the birthdays of the children, who in this country are called “invalid”, we call this the “Day of the Angel” Party. It is held every six months to celebrate the birthdays of the children in the program with Birthdays in the surrounding 6 month period. This is always sponsored by the Rotary Club which made today even more special as we had two Rotarians here to help us celebrate!
The first person I saw when I arrived was Sasha Krasikov, a boy who suffers from brittle bone disease but has traveled to Canada for treatment and is currently living pain-free as a result. As usual he was all smiles, especially for the Canadians! He reminded me that tomorrow is his birthday … he is turning 16!
Each child was called up and the Rotarians got the honour of handing out the gifts. Here is Mary Ellen Morris:
Randy Veinotte was also given this opportunity:
Of course the party also includes games and they are sure to include the Canadians in the fun! I think that Randy, Rene and Mary Ellen’s smiles were at least as big as the children’s and I’m not quite sure who enjoyed it more!
And now for the reason for my title. We had the opportunity to see Katya and her mother at the party, they had come to Canada this summer to seek medical treatment.
To you and me it may seem like a simple case of standard medical practice:
1. My child develops a medical condition
2. I take my child to the doctor
3. Doctor prescribes medicine
4. Condition goes away
To Katya it is relief from 6 years of suffering and to her Mom, Svetlana, it is nothing short of miraculous and a tremendous weight of fear and concern lifted from her shoulders. But I am getting ahead of myself. For several years CAC has been trying to help Katya with an affliction that started when she was 6 months old. Here is a picture taken of Katya in March of 2009. Not her worst day ever but typical in severity.
The condition is not only on her face but throughout her whole body. At times it would be so bad that it would crack and bleed!
She has been to Doctors here in Chausy as well as in Mogilev and Minsk. The diagnosis varied from allergies, which caused her mother to cut out a wide range of foods, to various skin disorders treated by various medications and creams …. nothing worked!
This past summer Katya and her Mom came to Canada thanks to the generosity of the Ross McNeil Foundation. She was taken to CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) where she was seen by specialists who diagnosed the problem and started her on medication. It is a rare genetic skin condition which cannot be cured, but it can be treated. They said it would take 6 – 9 months to see the full effect, here is a picture of Katya today only 8 weeks after starting the medication.
It is hard to believe it is the same child and only a third of the time has past. We are all hoping for complete remission and can’t wait for updates in the spring. Both of Katya’s parents expressed sincere gratitude for everything that has been done for their daughter.
The group was also invited back to the Mayor’s office where, on behalf of the citizens of Brockville, we accepted a certificate of appreciation for all of the support the Community of Brockville has provided over the past many years to the citizens of the Chausy region.
The Mayor thanked each of us personally and wished us safe travels. He also expressed his desire that our communities remain friends long into the future.
Tomorrow is my last full day in Chausy, and it looks like it will be another very full one. I will do my best to get a blog up either before I leave or somewhere along the way home.