21 October 2006

Tania Update

Ola and I have been amazed by the outpouring of support from our USA family, friends, the Ukrainian diaspora community, and from total strangers. From forwarding our email requesting leads, to providing us with hospital names and contact information, to translating medical records, it is moving how involved everyone has been.

To recap where we are now, Mr. JH of Wilmington, Delaware has generously agreed to take on the project of getting Tania treated in the U.S. including sending a plane for her. At the same time, through other connections Dr. Z.C. of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has confirmed that CHOP will treat Tania's Leukemia as part of their ongoing humanitarian aid projects for children. A video conference will be held Tuesday between CHOP physicians and Ukrainian physicians to determine the best course of treatment for Tania based on her current medical condition. At present she is not stable enough to travel due to various serious complications. During the last week she has shown some improvement, however, and has been able to eat a little on her own as well as walk a few steps.

05 October 2006


Our friends sister Tania is 14-years old and suffering from Leukemia (cancer) which is, in many cases as far as I understand, curable with the proper treatment. Ola has spent hours in the Leukemia ward of "Okhmadyt" children's hospital in Kyiv. It is clear that Tania will not get the required treatment in Ukraine. Ola and I are looking for a western hospital (USA? Germany?) to provide pro bono medical care for Tania. If anyone has any contacts or any information regarding physicians, hospitals, or charitable foundations that we can contact on Tania's behalf we would greatly appreciate it. Please leave a comment on this post.

The following is a letter Ola wrote to the Children's Miracle Network:
Dear Children's Miracle Network!

I am writing to you because I am in search of a sponsor. I am an American living in Kyiv, Ukraine and have a very good friend here whose 14 year old sister was diagnosed with leukemia about 4 months ago. As you may know, Ukraine's medical system has a long way to go compared to the USA. I have been trying to figure out how to help them. I am an artist so I began painting my friend's sister (tania) along with many of the other children at the hospital in hopes of gathering some money together to help the family pay for her chemotherapy. They, by the way, have 10 children in this family, ALL of whom are working full-time to help pay for her treatment. It has become clear that they need much more than just a few hundred dollars to help save their sister.

Today again I spent a few hours at the hospital with my friend (Luba) and her sister. She had asked me to come to help gather some information together from the doctors because they are very "stingy" with their treatment plan. In brief, both doctors I spoke with seemed pretty knowledgeable, serious and comfortable with her treatment plan, which they say they do the same as in Germany.
THAT'S ON THE SURFACE OF COURSE. The facilities are still Ukrainian and the staff still gets paid pennies so very few people follow through with any real sense of responsibility. They ask family members to do a lot of the follow through and of course, the family is continuously going themselves to buy needles, medicine,or whatever is needed.

Their mother seems to be out of strength. First she trusted everyone and now she trusts noone so when they ask her things like to make sure Tania doesn't drink any liquids for x amount of time, the mother would probably give Tania water if she asked for it. It's all very delicate psychologically because if you get any of the staff angry, they will just kick you out of the hospital. you have to be completely knowledgeable yourself and also watch every step they take but then some of their egos get angry when you do. You have to bring staff members presents so that they will check on your daughter! The mother even doubts some of the workers if they actually administered the expensive meds to Tania because she thinks the woman pocketed half of it to get money for her own family. I have heard from several people that this truly happens. Poverty.

The family is worried right now because Tania hasn't eaten for a week after the last chemo treatment because of liver problems. she has sores all over her body and they say they are having trouble finding ways to feed her through her veins. I think it is necessary to send her to America for a thorough check and for further treatment before it is too late. I have heard many medical horror stories since I have moved here 4 years ago and my cousin died here 2 years ago from improper treatment of melanoma. The treatment plan may be from Germany but the follow through is from Ukraine where employees have very limited knowledge and would make more money cleaning someone's house than working in the hospital. (including the doctors).

This is the story, briefly. I am asking on their behalf........is there a sponsorship program or some kind of program that would pay for her medical bills in the USA?

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.


Ola Rondiak

03 October 2006

"Reko and Friends" Art Exhibit Opening

The IWCK Painting Group is having an opening of their Art Exhibition entitled "Reko and Friends". They will be displaying art by long-time Painting Group member Reko, who will soon be leaving Kiev, along with paintings by the rest of the group (including Ola).

Everyone is invited to come to the opening this Friday, October 6th from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Pavlo Tychyna Museum which is located at 5 Tereschenkivskaya (near the Shevchenko Park, across from Shalena Mama Restaurant).

The exhibiton will be open to the public from October 6th till October 13th. The Museum hours are 9am till 6pm.