The story of Sergei from Kherson, told by his sister

He grabbed me with his healthy arm and the first thing he said was: «You’re not going to leave me, are you?» to which I replied, «Of course I won’t!»

Trouble comes unexpectedly. So, unexpectedly it came to our family, too. Eight years ago, my brother Sergei (now 46) noticed that his left leg and arm weren’t working properly. We went to a doctor, did an MRI — and received a disappointing diagnosis: meningioma, a brain tumour.

The man who had been caring for our large family all of his life was in need of help himself.

We collected the money needed for the operation. Afterwards, Sergei felt better, but his mobility was impaired: his leg and arm didn’t work. Sergei has adapted to live with these limitations, he has even tried to work (although he was in the third disability group).  

In December 2021 Sergei suffered a stroke which left his mouth and most of the left side of his body paralysed. He had severe problems with his speech and mobility. The disease progressed and he gradually became like an overgrown child.

And then the war began. On February 26 our city, Kherson, was captured by the occupiers despite the resistance of our troops. Everyone was frightened, especially Sergei. He got severe headaches.

Half of the population of Kherson, including most of the doctors, had fled the city. There were no drugs, nor anything else. I was running around the city looking for medicine and nappies, as by that time my brother had become incontinent. 

Something had to be done. Sergei’s situationwas getting worse — the tumour was growing. There was no treatment and nobody to help. At my own risk, I decided to evacuate him to Georgia.

In Tbilisi, my brother could no longer get out of bed and understood little: we had to communicate with him like a child. With the help of volunteers, we sent him to the American Hospital. Fortunately, they did not charge us for the treatment. My brother underwent a complicated operation and a week later he had another one: a part of his skull had to be removed. Now there is a hole there. 

Thanks to the high professionalism of doctors the operation was successful, but it is not over yet: a plate has to be put in the place of the removed skull bone to protect brain from damage he won’t be able to live without it. 

The operation was scheduled three months after the first procedure.

When I saw my brother a month after his first operation (they didn’t let me see him because he was quarantined), he was a completely different person — very thin, aged. He looked at me with eyes full of tears, fear and panic. He still didn’t understand what had happened to him: he had been living in another world, and suddenly he woke up. 

He grabbed me with his healthy arm and the first thing he said was: «You’re not going to leave me, are you?» to which I replied, «Of course I won’t!»

The story of Sergei from Kherson, told by his sister

I calmed down as best as I could, holding myself back from bursting into tears.

Sergei regained clear speech and cognition, like from before his illness. Gradually, the panic attacks that had overwhelmed him stopped. Аfter a rehabilitation therapist started visiting him, his spirits lifted.

Within two months, he was able to sit, stand up, and slowly move around with the help of crutches and our support. The therapist was surprised by his progress and Sergei’s eyes shone with joy. 

He lived for the hope that, after the second operation he would live without fear and be able to walk.

But a few months ago, the American Hospital stopped providing free treatment to Ukrainians. Our hopes for the future were shattered. 

It really knocked my brother down. The panic attacks started again. Sergei lives in a constant fear that any misstep could lead to death, if he were to fall down and hit his head. 

The operation would cost 7,000 lari. We are grateful to all the people, irrespective of their nationalities, who have responded to Emigration for Action’s call to help Ukrainian refugees. As the saying goes: «Every little helps».

An operation will help my brother fulfil his dream of getting firmly back on his feet. Sergei also dreams of returning to his small, beloved Kherson one day. 

Thank you all very much. May you have health, kindness, and a peaceful sky over your head.

18 November 2022

p.s. Sergei and his sister contacted us and we helped them.

He visited a doctor on November 22, and then he had another surgery which costs 7,000 lari. This will allow him to walk independently. 

This was made possible by your donations. 

Your donations are not just money, they save lives. 

Georgia, Tbilisi, St. Petersburg 7
NNLE Emigration for Action
ID: 404675561
Privacy policy
Copyright © 2024, NNLE Emigration for Action, All rights reserved.
For cooperation
[email protected]
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.