Alexandra, Stefanel’s mother, has an income of 700 RON per month (160 euro, or 230 $). Of them she pays 150 RON for the monthly transport to Bucharest, to the hospital where Stefanel, operated of kidney cancer when he was one year old, is undergoing chemotherapy. Stefanel has a little brother, aged 4. All three live on the remaining 500 RON (120 euro, or 160 $) from Alexandra’s allowance of an attendant.

Ana, Ovidiu’s mummy, has an income too. 630 RON per month (150 euro, or 210 $). Of them, 400 RON go on the monthly transport to the same Bucharest hospital, where Ovidiu, diagnosed at 4 years with Non Hodgkin Malignant Lymphoma and a malignant tumor in his lungs, is undergoing chemotherapy. Ovidiu’s parents are from a poor region of the country, where Ovidiu’s father has great difficulty in finding work. They have sold everything they had in their courtyard, to save their child. And, say the recent analysis, their child has great chances of being cured!

Sebastian is 2 and a half years old. His coming into the world had been expected with eagerness and joy by two young and beautiful parents, who could have never thought that life together with their child would mean rivers of tears and suffering. In the hospital, after 14 hours of labor, Gina was left unsupervised for 45 minutes, a time in which Sebastian suffocated on his own umbilical cord. The diagnosis at birth: cerebral paralysis. After two years of fighting and suffering and expensive recovery treatments, Sebastian has started to see, to hear, to smile, to babble, seeding the seeds of hope that his recovery is possible, and that he will someday be able to live a life, not just exist! Sebastian has gone through a first operation, in Dusseldorf (Germany): stem cells have been implanted in an area of his leg. He is undergoing complex recovery treatments, which cost a lot of money. And a second operation is needed: the German doctors intend to implant stem cells into his brain, after he turns 3. The operation will again be very expensive, and Sebastian’s parents can only hope that their beloved child will be helped by good and generous people! They will launch another humanitarian campaign this spring, in the hope that they will be able to schedule the second operation in autumn 2010.

George Stefan has a lonely and sad mother. His father died in a road accident, swept off the sidewalk by a scoundrel who has paid for it with three years suspended prison sentence. George Stefan’s mother cannot find work in a poor region of the country and lives the drama of so many poor parents in Romania, who cannot provide their children with a decent life. For Romania’s poor there is nothing but a hard life, which they bear from one day to the other. And because even the poor understand that they cannot put their hope in Romania’s government, all they have left is the faith in God and the chance to be helped by those who are happier than they are.

These are but a few of the dramatic life stories that go on around us, without our knowing. The smallest help from us, the ones who are less unhappy than those human beings, could mean a lot to them. 10-20 €/$, from as many of us as possible, could bring those children and their parents a ray of light in a desperate life.

The first money have just arrived: 200 euro have been shared (God, how terribly hard it was for us to be able to choose!) between four children: Stefanel, Ovidiu, Sebastian and George Stefan. It is our turn. And we are waiting for you, dear friends! Please visit the pages, read, send those sad human beings a good thought, and help however you can. Here in Romania, we have proposed our friends to collect our help, so we can simplify the formalities. For you, our known and unknown friends from abroad, it is your decision who you will choose and how you will help.

Stefania, Alexia, Sebastian, George Stefan, Calin, Georgiana, Stefanel, Luca, Alexandru Damian, Cerasela, Steluta, Nicole, Gabriela… Children, adolescents or young adults, they dream of the day when they will be healthy and able to live their life. In a country in which tens of millions of dollars are swept away from the public finances and transferred into private pockets, in which the health system is in collapse and the State is indifferent to the needs and dramas of its citisens, Stefania, Alexia, Sebastian, George Stefan, Calin, Georgiana, Stefanel, Luca, Alexandru Damian, Cerasela, Steluta, Nicole, Gabriela have no other hope left than to be helped by people with a kind heart and a good soul.

If you wish to send your help to other children than the ones presented on the page of Real Romania, then (for Romanian readers) you can search into Isabela’s blog, http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com , there are so many of them who need your help!

Isabela is one of those rare human beings who willingly gives away a part of her life to help others fight for theirs. Her blog is “bitter and quiet”… and opens the door to a world of unhappiness… The lecture is so overwhelming, that it makes one want to run away… But for those who are willing to stay, a few words: on Isabela’s blog, as well as on other pages, are the dramas of desperate human beings who need help and do not get it. And every small gesture can make a difference.

Do not click off their life stories, do not run away. Please.  Let’s help the ones who are more unhappy than us!

Thank you! God bless you!

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com

http://romaniaverde.wordpress.com

Ioana Alexandra

The sad smile of a child undergoing chemotherapy in the Budimex Hospital.

Stefanel

Stefanel

His story, as told by Isabelle on her blog, starting august 2009.

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/stelutele-de-mare-stefanel-si-sufletul-de-hartie

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/doamna-asta-nu-e-raceala-asta-e-cancer-stefanel-unul-din-trei

Stefanel’s cancer was discovered when he was seven months old.

In July 2009 he “celebrated” one year since he became a pacient of the oncological pediatric department of the Marie Curie Hospital. He has kidney cancer. Both kidneys are affected. And operated. He lost a “bit” of each one of his small kidneys in the operating room. Stefanel’s cancer is called Bilateral Nephroblastoma.

Stefanel is from a village in the Calarasi county. Each month he comes to Bucharest for his cytostatics. He usually stays in the hospital for one week. Sometimes two, when the number of his leucocytes decreases. For the time he is in the hospital for treatment, he eats milk and tea. His mother eats even less, because she’s got almost nothing to eat. She has another 4 year old child at home.

Ever since Stefanel has been sick, his father has only visited him twice in the hospital. “This child’s got cancer, he’s no good”, says the father. A soul of paper.

A few months ago he packed a few things and beat it. Without saying anything. No word where he was going, no goodbye. A soul of paper.

He didn’t care about the sick child, he didn’t care about the healthy child. The grandfather (her husband’s father) takes care of the four year old while Stefanel and Alexandra, his mother, are in the hospital.

Alexandra went asking in the village. He found out that her husband and father-with-just-the-name had left for Italy. She called. He didn’t answer. Some friends called him. “Why have you left?” they asked. “Why? Because my wife keeps going to the hospital and I don’t like this”.

A jerk.

Three souls live on Alexandra’s allowance of attendant, some 550 ron a month. 180 $. The allowance is 700, but each month 150 is paid for the ambulance which takes Stefanel to and from hospital.

When Stefanel is in the hospital, he is administered cytostatics 3 days of 7. After each session of cytostatics he is hydrated. In those three days of cytostatics and hydration, Stefanel needs at least 36 pampers. 80 per week. 1,30 ron per piece. The powder milk is 31 ron a box. One box is enough for 7 days. The doctors have told Alexandra that there is a better milk, with lots of vitamins. Alexandra wanted to buy, but it was 90 ron a box. She couldn’t afford it.

One year ago, a company in Calarasi raised money for Stefanel. Alexandra never saw a penny – more, she never knew. Until people started asking her on the street if Stefanel was getting better, saying they had donated money. This is how Alexandra found out that some scoundrels had made money on behalf of a sick child.

Things have gone pretty bad in their life… until a few special people brought some good!

UPDATE AUGUST 21st, 2009.
“One daddy, seven mommies, aunts, cousins – a day for getting out of the ‘virtual’ and meeting in the real life. I am going to meet with “The Family” at the hospital: people with kind hearts and sensible souls, who have read Stefanel’s story and are willing to help! Alexandra and Bogdan will bring milk and pampers, a few clothes, some money for Alexandra, for her personal care and the children’s. Magda will brings a box of powder milk, a big pack of Pampers, a story book, some coloured pencils. Adriana will bring food for Alexandra. Moms don’t get food in the hospital, only children do, so if someone doesn’t bring her food, she doesn’t eat. Adriana is committed to visiting Alexandra once in a few days, at the hospital, to bring her a cooked meal and whatever else she can. Andreea will bring a pack of pampers. Simona will bring a pram for Stefanel and some clothing and toys, all the way from Sighet. Maria is going to pay the kindergarten for Adi (Stefanel’s brother), a big pack of school stuff and clothes for Adi, toys for Stefanel – and others. Maria has found out that Alexandra’s washing machine is broken, so Isabella and Maria will try to buy a new one. Magda says she is in, too. Maria has asked me to take Alexandra out of the hospital, to a bank where she can open an account, in which Maria will send the money for kindergarten. I will buy food for Alexandra and for Fabian’s mother. Fabian is another sick child. His mother also needs to eat.”

UPDATE AUGUST 22nd, 2009. “Stefanel was supposed to end his cytostatics session and leave home. But on Monday I get a phone call from Alexandra – they cannot leave, the tests are bad. She calls again on Wednesday morning. I ask her what to bring. Powder milk and pampers for the child, says Alexandra. And for you? Nothing, it’s ok, I don’t need anything. Of course she needs to eat, so I will take some food with me. At the hospital we had some time alone, the two of us, so we talked… She told me the troubles of her life. I understood that was totally down, that she finds it terribly difficult to lift herself from the ground. And I understood that I couldn’t help her on my own. But I could try. I put their story on my blog. It was possible that one person, at least one, would read about it, and do something. And it happened. Alexandra has not told me all her troubles. In the hospital I found out, from Maria, that Alexandra has no firewood for the coming winter, that she needs a washing machine, that they can’t live on the money she has…”

Stefanel and Alexandra

UPDATE AUGUST 26th, 2009. “Larissa and Iulia have joined “The Family”. They are going to buy medicine (Stefanel needs Captopril, Cutaden, Pimafucin), pampers and powder milk, fruit, coloring books and pencils, toys for Stefanel and his brother. This time Stefanel may have to stay longer in the hospital – he has developed an infection, probably due to the falling of his immune system and is under another treatment. I got the pram from Simona, she sent it from Sighet. Andreea and Marian have brought other packages yesterday evening: pampers, toys, clothing.”

UPDATE AUGUST 27TH, 2009. “Today I have met some beautiful people! Good as warm bread! Stefanel was very happy today, for all the presents he has received. So was Alexandra. So were other children. Those people, who have visited the hospital today, have seen (maybe for the first time in their lives) how cruel can life be for some beings. For children and for their parents. I hope they achieve the inner strength to leave their tears behind and go on helping wipe the tears of those who endure sufferings we don’t even want to imagine. I thank them from my heart for believing me, and for wanting to help. Bogdan and Alexandra have taken Stefanel and Alexandra to the bank, where they helped Alexandra open an account. Where they made the first donation. They also took them to the pharmacy, for the medicine Stefanel needs. We, the others, have remained in the hospital to play with the children.”

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 3rd, 2009. “For some time now, I have been wanting to show you how I found out about Stefanel, where has the cry for help for this child come from. In the same time with Stefanel, two other children have also been diagnosed with Bilateral Nefroblastoma. Only Stefanel made it… At the time of the operation, he was not given too many chances. Now the doctors have changed their opinion. May God watch over him further on! So… here is how I found out about Stefanel:

Stefanel's Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa, my name is Ciocoi Stefan, I am one year and one month old and I am very sick, I have Bilateral Nephroblastoma, in January the doctors may have to take out one kidney, both of my kidneys being ill. My parents have a bad financial situation, they are poor and barely manage to offer me the essentials. I would like to ask you to bring me what you can, I need everything that a baby needs. Thank you from the heart, Stefan

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 9th, 2009. “The children are well, Alexandra is well. Something in their life has changed. A little peace has comforted their souls, also a little more confidence in a better tomorrow. From the money that have come into her account, Alexandra has bought the washing machine, has paid her debts, has ordered the firewood for winter. They arrive today. Alexandra has bought food, and whatever else she needed in her house. The children will stay in a heated home this winter, thanks to you, good people! The children have food now, thanks to you, good people! Thank you from the heart! When they return to the hospital, Alexandra and Stefanel will not be watching the others’ visitors with tears in their eyes, knowing that they are never visited by anyone…”

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 21st, 2009. “Our Stefanel in Q Magazine. An article signed by our friend, Raluca Botezatu, dated September 18th. In case you wondered how it all began, here is an excerpt from the article “I’ll send him to Bucharest, so he won’t die here!
“Stefanel was four months when Alexandra discovered two nut-like swellings opposite his kidneys. The next day she took him to the family doctor, who promptly set the diagnostic… not to Stefanel, but to Alexandra: “Woman, you are crazy! The kid is perfectly healthy!” Another two months passed, during which Alexandra took her child to another consultation, this time to a private clinic. She got the same answer. In spite of the fact that the private doctors had performed an ultrasound test! The day when Stefanel was turning six months, he was taken to Emergency at the Calarasi Hospital, with a very high fever (40 degrees Celsius). They kept him there for one week, administering antibiotics for a… bronchitis. The child had a haemorrhage, blood coming out of his mouth and bottom. Only then did they send him to the Budimex Hospital in Bucharest. The doctors in the Calarasi Hospital had no problem in confessing to their real worry: “We’re sending him to Bucharest so he won’t die here!”. Stefanel and Alexandra were sent to Bucharest, but in an ambulance with only a driver, no medical assistence! All the way to Bucharest Stefanel kept bleeding. For Alexandra time had never crawled so slowly. Her whispers had dried in the prayer of her heart. It seemed an endless passage, a forgotten time, like between two unrecorded dreams. And they got to Bucharest. The doctor at the emergency looked at Stefanel, looked at the ultrasound, then let go of the guillotine: What bronchitis are you talking about, lady, this is cancer alright!”

Stefanel started chemotherapy. In January 2009 he was operated, the doctors took out six tumors. The operation lasted for 12 hours. Alexandra had a shock when she saw him after the operation. He was awfully swollen. The doctors told her that if Stefanel urinated in the next two hours, he will be saved. If not… But miracles do happen!

UPDATE NOVEMBER 6th, 2009. “I talk to Alexandra almost every day. She calls me to ask me how I am. I call her too, to ask what her needs are. Two weeks ago, Stefanut Florescu’s father, Mr Nini Florescu, has visited them at home – I couldn’t thank him enough, I had four big packages to send: clothes from Mrs Corina from Germany. All the clothes were perfect for both Stefanel and Adi. Mr Nini offered them two boxes of powder milk. I sent Stefanel a remote controlled car for his birthday, it was all I could afford at the time. I also sent a toy for Adi, he too is a child. Alexandra also got the package from Lia. Now we are preparing to send winter footwear (20-21 for Stefanel, 31-32 for Adi). If you think about Stefanel from time to time and you want to send something, it is powder milk he still needs: he drinks a box of Milumil Junior per week. And he also needs baby bottles, he has yet to learn to drink from the cup. Stefanel is well now, he eats well, laughs a lot, he is learning to speak. So help him God!”

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/stelutele-de-mare-stefanel-si-sufletul-de-hartie

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/doamna-asta-nu-e-raceala-asta-e-cancer-stefanel-unul-din-trei

The UPDATES on Stefanel’s story, on Isabella’s blog, are a diary of the heart… highlights of wonderful moments of generosity, of solidarity… people who never knew each other and are now part of Stefanel’s life, each trying to do a little something that will keep a ray of light in the life of those three human beings: Stefanel, his brother Adi and their mother Alexandra.

If you can and are willing to help Stefanel, you can donate into the following account:

Banca Transilvania – Agentia Calarasi  

RON: RO 30 BTRL 0120 1201 T 239 74XX 

Titular: Ciocoi Alexandra

Swift Code  BTRLRO22

(Transilvania Bank, Brancoveanu Agency, the account is in RON, the Romanian currency, Name of account owner: Ciocoi Alexandra)

If you visit Isabella’s blog, http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com, you’ll understand we were only able to translate so little of the story. There is still so much to be said…

If you decide to help and need more details, please contact Isabella on her blog, adding a comment on Stefanel’s story. Or call Alexandra, Stefanel’s mother: 004.0727.205.695

Thank you! God bless you!

Stefanel Ciocoi

Thanks to Isabelle for the  permissi0n to take those life stories from her blog!

Sebastian

His story, as told by Isabelle on her blog:

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/calvarul-stelutelor-de-mare-sebastian-lungu-povestea-unui-alt-fel-de-a-fi

His story, as told by his parents:

http://sebastian.digitallights.net

His story, as told by himself:

http://www.youtube.com/lungusebastian

August 25th, 2009

A first message.

In our logic, this blog was not supposed to exist. Now, in an impossible world, in our imagination, Sebastian is a child who runs, plays, breaks objects, catches toys then throws them away, calls us or tries to put all kinds of things in his mouth. In our real life, none of those things are in his power.

The day of August 3rd, 2007, seemed to me as the day in which God has remained in debt towards us. Even today the memory of those hours is condensed in my mind like an awfully painful point, from which two years of hallucinating suffering would explode.

August 3rd, 2007, is the day in which Sebastian Nicholas Lungu was born, at the City Emergency Hospital Bucharest. 6 lines of duty on the gynecology department, of which a medical chief and a resident doctor, 2 paramedics, an anaesthesiologist, a general practitioner have not felt the need to assist a person who was struggling to give birth after 14 hours of labour.

For 45 minutes Gina was left unsupervised, a time in which Sebastian was suffocating on his own umbilical cord. It was not a simple negligence. At least 3 people had direct knowledge of the state in which was Gina. From the moment she was admitted in the hospital, it was the only birth they had!!

Even after the birth, when his suffering was obvious, Sebastian was left without any help, in a criminal assumption of the fact that he would recover on his own.

Sebastian is now starting to see, to hear, to laugh, to be happy, to babble, to have preferences, to listen to stories, to live in a way we had not seen possible, neither we nor those who took care of him. Sebastian gave us life when we felt that life was not worth living. But Sebastian is paying too high a price, each day.

For months he has risked to choke on his own saliva during the night, long nights in which this child has not slept because of the suffering. For months he has vomited 20 times a day. For 11 months his whole body kept shaking at the slightest touch. He was spasmodic. For 10 months he has had a tube inserted in his throat, which was hurting him. For 24 months he has been fed with the syringe. For months his body would writhe in impossible positions. For months Gina would introduce the feeding probe in his throat, 8 times a day, to feed him. For 23 months he has been going through tormenting physical exercises. For months he has not been able to see. For months he has not been able to hear. Sebastian has not lived, but survived, in a state that no one could call ‘life’…

For him, life will never be what we understand by life. The only thing that Sebastian cam still do is to suffer. But we can do infinitely more. We can ease his suffering and give a meaning to a story that seems absurd.

We want this blog to be our reaction to what has happened to all the children and parents who have gone through similar situations. If we won’t react, all those children will have suffered in vain. We want this blog to be the protest against a system which has refused to help Sebastian and other children, both under medical and legal aspect. In our odyssey we have discovered that the system existed only when it has opposed us. But those people and this system exist only as long as they feed on our indifference. Today, unfortunately, we know them well enough, and we want you to believe us when we say that their only fear is to be asked what they are doing. And for sure, the only time when they do something is when they are asked about it. We want this blog to be a help for all who are going through similar situations. We have acquired a sinister experience, and we want that other people will not have to look for help alone, like we have done for all this time.

A sign from you is our help for continuing the fight when we’ll get tired or desperate. We are saying this from a perspective that we wish no one else will get to know: any form of help eases a bit of the dreadful burden we carry on our shoulders.

October 7th, 2009

Chronicles of a neurology department

I wrote those words in the summer of 2008, when I was with Sebi in pediatric neurology clinic in Germany, for recovery procedures. It was a month of contrasts, of mixed feelings, all lived at maximum intensity. A hallucinating experience!

July 27th, 2008

To be able to go on, my mind must be empty, otherwise I couldn’t resist here.

I can’t stand it anymore! It is so hard to be here! Seems it’s been an eternity, yet I am only half way. And I still have an eternity to stay here. Everything is so sad, strange, tiring. I didn’t  think it would be so difficult… One month feels like forever. It seems like there is nowhere to run, hide, leave. No escape! I’m tired. I came here to fight for my child and I already feel defeated. It seems to me all the others live a life. I only exist.

The days are infinitely long, and all the same. I look at my watch: how long till he falls asleep? Maybe then I will have a little peace for myself. And the time comes, and he falls asleep. Why don’t I feel any comfort? I needed that little time for myself, and now that I have it, I feel too tired to do anything, to think, to make plans. The night will be here soon… but how will this night be? How many times will he choke? How many times will he get scared and wake up looking frightened around him? How many times will the damn pulse-oxymetre’s alarm sound? Or is it the feeding pump? This goddamn pump, he recognizes it, it’s what gives him food. Sometimes I wake up disconcerted and I don’t know whose alarm is the grating sound: is it the pulse-oxymetre or is the milk in the pump finished? Sometimes I push the buttons foolishly and I don’t understand why the alarm keeps sounding. And it keeps sounding, all the way on the corridor. Something wrong in room 985!

Sebastian keeps crying to have me by his side, all the time. He has to feel me, to touch me. All the other parents are not alone. They are together, relatives come by too, they take turns. It’s not easy for anyone here. All the stories are dramas. But they don’t go through them alone. And more important, they all speak the same language. I do not speak their language.

I feel I’m dying slowly, but surely. Little by little, each day. I wonder how will I be after one year? Will I ever be like I was before? Maybe not. Such suffering cannot pass without destroying you. Nothing is the same. Nothing has the same taste, smell, colour. Only Bubu’s smile, for one second, makes me forget everything. But then everything comes back with a force that is tearing me apart.

3.08.2008, 00,50

At this precise moment, one year ago, I was on my way to the hospital. Sebastian-Nicholas was about to be born. But he came into this world strangling himself with the umbilical cord which had given him life for 9 months. No one was there to help him. No one… not even God.

Now we are in a pediatric neurology clinic, fighting for a chance… the chance to life. I wonder how they are, the ones who didn’t care that night. They probably don’t care now. I wonder how God is. Like I’ve been wondering each day, for the past 365 days, what has He done then. I have always thought that God is great, loving, good, watching and helping us when we need Him most, when we are desperate. What has God done one year ago? I refuse to believe that He is cruel and indifferent. I cannot accept that He knew, he watched, and… done nothing for Sebi. Why? Why my child? All the parents around me are asking the same question. Why, God, my child?

Is there such thing as a universal balance which keeps the scales stable? Do sick children have to be born too? And we are all asking the same question: why ours? But you cannot say: why not another! Because it would be boundless cruelty to wish this to another innocent little soul, to other families. It is an agonizing pain that tears out, each day, a small piece of your soul. I do not wish anybody to know this pain.”

The Ordeal of the Little Star-Fish

Sebastian Lungu, 2 years. Cerebral paralysis.

“The above words belong to Sebastian’s parents. You probably know Sebi’s story from the media. The parents have fought for their child, even when they had moments in which they felt life was not worth living anymore. They keep fighting. For their child’s life, and for justice. They need help.

No one can make it alone. I don’t know if you have noticed, but with so much misery human beings do, not even God can cope anymore.

Because now, when he has turned 2, Sebastian has started to see, to hear, to laugh, to be happy, to babble, to have preferences, to listen to stories, to live… it means that their effort to live and fight has mattered! All three need help. Sebi needs treatment and a stem cell transplant, his parents need strength and money to go on with their fight against the system.”

Isabela

If you can and are willing to help Sebastian, you can donate into the following accounts:

BCR – Sucursala Alexandria

RON: RO 53 RNCB 0245 0366 2292 0001

EURO: RO 26 RNCB 0245 0366 2292 0002

Umanitar: RO 69 RNCB 0245 0366 2292 0004

Cod SWIFT: RNCBROBU

Titular: Lungu Nansi-Ionuţ

(Romanian Commercial Bank, Alexandria Branch, name of beneficiary: Lungu Nansi-Ionut, accounts are in RO – Romanian currency and EU – Euro)

If you visit Isabella’s blog,  http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com, you’ll understand we were only able to translate so little of the story. There is still so much to be said…

If you want to help and need more details, please contact Isabela on her blog, adding a comment to Sebastian’s story. Or comment here on the page.

Thank you! God bless you!

Thanks to Isabela for the permission to take those life stories from her blog!

Ovidiu

I have fallen in love with the kid in this photo. He is hospitalized in the Marie Curie Hospital. Two weeks ago when I saw him, he was eating. I told him Good Appetite and he gave me as a present the most beautiful smile in the world. His smile was simply coming out of his eyes. He had just finished the cytostatics session. But he had the power to smile, beautiful and serene as the clear sky.

I knew Ovidiu only from photographs, just like Cosmina. I had put their photos – I don’t know why – with this story, so old yet so new. Maybe for the serenity in his eyes. Or maybe for the shy questions in Cosmina’s eyes. I didn’t know their names, they were two of the children hospitalized in the Budimex Oncological Hospital. I first saw them in august, brave prisoners of war in glass cabinets of pains, fears and thousands of tears.

Then, in august 2009, when Stefanel had opened my way towards those children, Ovidiu was at the ‘pump’ (the pump is that thing which pours the cytostatics in the little bodies of children suffering from cancer).

Ovidiu was lying quietly in his bed – I thought he was asleep. Ana, his mummy, was watching over him, as quietly as her child. As though she was counting the drops. Of poison. She was praying they would end faster.

After one hour I took the courage to go to him, I had a tired bear who was looking for shelter in a child’s little bed. A serene smile.

Ovidiu Corcodel, who is 4 years old and has cancer, is from Tortomanu, in the Constanta area. Ovidiu was diagnosed 6 months ago. He started to come to the Budimex Hospital on May 15th, 2009, and is already at his sixth cytostatics session. The doctors say that he has great chances of being cured, the analysis are better each time. He still has 6 months of cytostatics, and if luck remains on his side, he will not have to go through operation.

Ana, Ovidiu’s mother, is the only family member who has an income: that of an attendant for her child. Around 630 RON per month (about 150 euro, or 200 $ per month). Of them, 400 RON are paid on the monthly transport to and from the hospital. They are from the country area, where Ovidiu’s father has great difficulty in finding work. They have sold about all they had in their courtyard – animals, birds – to be able to face the illness of their child. They only get some extra help from their parents – Ovidiu’s grandparents, but it is not enough…

Ovidiu came to the hospital on October 14th, 2009. He had caught a cold, so he couldn’t start the cure. Next time he is in the hospital, please do not pass him by. You will be rewarded with the most pure smile in the world. It will ‘cost’ you a banana and an apple. I think a candy will do, too. I will take care of the toy cars!

Every little part of me felt how life was flowing away from my child. He was like dead… Ovidiu

For a few seconds only, Ana looks towards nowhere. Her young and beautiful eyes are tired, reddened by sleeplessness. Scared, she turns her head towards the child who is sleeping quietly. She sticks her look to the small body. As if she fears losing something.

The evening he collapsed he was not breathing anymore, whispers Ana. His face had become black as earth. For a few seconds we thought he had died. We imagined he had choked on something. We rushed to him. I don’t remember exactly what and how we did to bring him back to life, but I think I have never been happier in all my life than in that moment when Ovidiu opened his eyes.

Six months have passed since he has been diagnosed with cancer, but things are going on a good path, says Ana. A tumor in the lungs, this is what they first saw at the hospital. Because of it he had a respiratory arrest and he fell to the ground. The doctors in the Medgidia Hospital told us that the malignant tumor had nested in his chest six months before. They told us that the situation was grave and that we will have to leave for Bucharest, to the oncology. Now Ovidiu is well, after six months of chemotherapy. In september he had analysis and radiographies, the tumor is not visible anymore, we think he has escaped the operation. Before his collapse, nothing, no sign, absolutely nothing could let us suspect that Ovidiu was ill.

On May 15th, 2009, Ovidiu Corcodel was hospitalized in the Oncopediatric Department of the Marie Curie Hospital in Bucharest, diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Malignant Lymphoma and with a malignant tumor in his lungs. He was not even 4 years old. He turned four in the hospital, on August 5th, 2009. Ovidiu has started chemotherapy immediately after being diagnosed. He still has six months of treatment. Doctors say that his chances of being cured are very high.

Ana and Gheorghe, Ovidiu’s parents, have sold everything they could. Cattle, birds – what they had in their courtyard – to have the money for the monthly transport to the hospital, from Tortomanu to Bucharest and back, also money for the food and medicine for their child. They are from the country area, life is hard, there is no work. But they do not complain, they are happy their child is alive. They fend for themselves. The grandparents help as they can. Two months ago, Ana and Gheorghe have borrowed money for an expensive cytostatic. They found it abroad, 650 Euro per bottle. They are in need for another one. Ana is the only one who has a regular income, 630 RON (about 150 Euro, or 200 $), the allowance for attending her child. Of them, 400 RON are spent on transportation to and from the Budimex Hospital in Bucharest, where Ovidiu comes for treatment twice a month. Gheorghe, his father, is constantly looking for work, but he seldom finds it.

If you can and are willing to help Ovidiu:

BCR – Agenţia Medgidia

RON: RO 48 RNCB 0118 1097 5816 0001

EURO: RO 21 RNCB 0118 1097 5816 0002

Cod SWIFT: RNCBROBU

Titular: Corcodel Gheorghe

Telephone Ana Corcodel: 0763 411 693

(Romanian Commercial Bank – Medgidia Agency, accounts in RON – Romanian currency, EURO, Name of beneficiary Corcodel Gheorghe)

Thank you! God bless you!

A story of 2006 continued in 2009

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/poveste-din-2006-continuata-in-2009

The little star-fish. Ovidiu, the serene in the cancer

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/stelutele-de-mare-ovidiu-seninul-din-cancer

Every little part of me felt how life was flowing away from my child. He was like dead… Ovidiu

http://isabellelorelai.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/fiecare-particica-din-mine-simtea-cum-se-scurge-viata-din-copilul-meu-era-ca-si-mort-ovidiu

Thanks to Isabela for the permission to take those life stories from her blog. Thanks to Mr Adrian Popescu for the photos with a heart.

A frail child – George Stefan

George Stefan is 8 years old and has a lonely and sad mother. His father died in a road accident, swept off the sidewalk by a scoundrel who has paid for it with three years suspended prison sentence. George Stefan’s mother cannot find work in a poor region of the country and lives the drama of so many poor parents in Romania, who cannot provide their children with a decent life. For those people, Point 3 of Article 1 of the Constitution exists only on paper.

THE CONSTITUTION OF ROMANIA, Article 1, Point 3:

Romania is a state of law, democratic and social, in which the human dignity, the rights and liberties of citizens, the free development of human personality, the justice and political pluralism represent supreme values, in the spirit of the democratic traditions of the Romanian people and the ideals of the December 1989 Romanian Revolution, and are guaranteed.”

For Romania’s poor there is neither justice nor dignity. The right to a good, very good, exceptional life has been reserved by those who have taken possession of Romania, sharing it between themselves. All that is left for the others is the electoral slogans – no good for feeding or keeping them warm. Romania’s poor are not even aware that the supreme law of their country guarantees them the right to a dignified and fair life. For them there is only a hard life, which they bear from one day to the other. And because even the poor understand that they cannot put their hope in Romania’s government, all they have left is the faith in God and the chance to be helped by those who are less unhappy than they are.

The letter of George Stefan’s mummy can be read in the magazine Formula As, number 889 from October 16-23, 2009.

Dear Mrs Sanziana Pop,

I am the mother of a child, George Stefan, a pupil in the second grade. Two years ago I lost my husband, who died in a tragic road accident in Bucharest. He was working as a day-labourer in constructions, and on his way from work, while he was on the sidewalk, he was hit by a car and died right there. The guilty driver only got three years of suspended prison sentence, and the boy that his father used to love so much is not getting even a small allowance. I live with my mother in law, aged 74 years and very sick, especially since her son, her only support for old age, has died. We live on her small peasant’s allowance, and the state allowance of my child (42 RON, which is 1 Euro, or 1,30 $ per month). My mother in law needs an operation for she has a serious suffering, but we don’t have the financial means. I keep thinking of my child, for which I am both mother and father. His clothes and shoes have remained small, he has grown out of his clothes, and now he is 34 at his shoes. He is a frail child. Please help him with whatever you want, I very much wish for him to go to school in the winter time, so he will get out of our sad house and be together with the other children. I am a hard-working, tidy woman, but I cannot find any work here anymore. I cannot leave my child in anybody’s care so I could try to find work in other areas. I don’t have relatives here. I am from a region of Moldavia, from a small village in the Vaslui area. I have no one there either, my parents are dead. All I have left is my faith in God and the hope that you will help me. God bless you with health, so you can help many other unfortunate people!

Bobâlţiu Mariana – B-dul Republicii nr. 106, Zimnicea, jud. Teleorman, cod 145400

(I am attaching documents to prove my income, my child’s birth certificate, my husband’s death certificate, a copy of my child’s school record, a copy of my identity card)”

SURELY EACH OF US CAN DONATE THINGS THAT WE HAVE IN EXCESS, OR AN AMOUNT OF MONEY, NO MATTER HOW SMALL. A CARDBOARD BOX WITH A FEW THINGS, SENT BY POST, SOME MONEY SENT BY POSTAL ORDER (they have no bank account), AND MAYBE THOSE PEOPLE WILL FEEL LESS LONELY IN THIS WORLD.

NO MATTER HOW SMALL EACH CONTRIBUTION, IT COULD BRING SOME LIGHT IN THOSE PEOPLE’S SAD LIVES.

Robert

Since he fell ill, Robert has given up school and meetings with friends. He is afraid to move his head, to bend over, to play with his brothers, afraid that the “rub” he has in his brain will hurt like in the days in which it would painfully flash through his feet and nail him to bed. Robert has a brain tumor. His chance is an operation abroad.

No one knows his thoughts. Nor his fears. Nor his wishes. Nor his dreams. He keeps them locked inside him, afraid that some sad shiver might close in on his family, at the sound of some depressing word. Robert is only 9 years old. He hardly keeps up with school. He is not particularly fond of it, no expert in maths or in writing stories. Still, he wouldn’t miss school for one day. He likes to be with his colleagues, to learn new things in the geography class or compete with some friend in the sports class. His mummy proudly calls him one of her three musketeers. Together with his two other brothers, Robert used to make his parents’ hearts swell with pride when they would hear their pure, careless laughs, and see them united in their play. Now, Robert walks with small and heavy steps. He doesn’t run anymore. He doesn’t frolic anymore. And he seldom smiles. His brothers watch him with sadness in their hearts. The big one, who is 11 years old, is the only one who knows the truth about Robert: that his brother has a tumor in the area of the little brain.

“There is no more time!”

“One day he came from school very agitated. Upset. He told me he had a very bad headache. I gave him a pain reliever. In vain. The pains were intensifying, and he could barely stand on his feet. I tried other pills, but with no results. For two days he suffered with that excruciating pain. He spent those days mostly in bed”, remembers his mother, Elisabeta Vlase, the debut of her child’s illness. She then decided to take her son to the family doctor. The vague information she got from the clinic to which the family doctor sent them made her decide to go to the Marie Curie Hospital in Bucharest. The headaches had become unbearable for the little child. But the diagnostic came only after she reached the doctors of Hospital No 9. “We were lucky to meet with a very good doctor. She consulted him thoroughly and recommended an MRI, under the suspicion that Robert was suffering from cancer. Two days after the MRI was performed, the diagnostic was confirmed: round tumoral formation in the area of the little brain. We were sent to the Bagdasar-Arseni Hospital to find out if the tumor could be operated. It was then when we saw our first ray of hope, when the doctor told us that there are chances that our boy could get well.” The mother is barely able to breathe. She has fought the harsh battle with her child’s illness with all her being. “The operation has to be performed urgently”, the doctor had told the mother, and the woman, in spite of her wish to search for a possibility abroad, where she could offer her son the best chances, stepped back in front of the message passed on by the doctor: “There is no more time!” Then they put all their hope and faith in God and in the doctor. But other emergency cases came ahead of Robert. And so passed long days from the day in which the child had been programmed for the extirpation of the tumor and the moment in which he finally got to the operating room. Two weeks of waiting, of dread, of anxiety, of reproaches. “I should have searched for a clinic abroad and leave, here we are waiting for too long a time”, the mother kept saying day and night, while her child was watching her, helpless, from his hospital bed.

After two hours of “successful” operation, after days in which the little one didn’t complain about headaches anymore, after the parents had raised prayers of gratitude to the divinity, the biopsy showed that the formation was of malignant nature. “The doctor told us that three roots had remained in the area of the cerebellum. Those roots can grow, and the cancer can recidivate. He recommended that we leave for a clinic abroad, if we can, so that the roots may be safely removed without affecting the vital functions.” Now Robert is undergoing rays, and once a week cytostatics. He suffers from permanent pain in his belly, he has nausea and pain in his throat. All are reactions to the rays therapy. In this time, the parents have desperately searched for a clinic which could give back the health to their child. They have kept permanent contact with an Austrian clinic with which they have the feeling they’re on the good path. Robert can be treated there, on the condition that the necessary amount of money for the operation be raised. 45000 euro stand between Robert and his chance of being cured. The 9 year old child doesn’t know he has cancer. All that his mother has told him, which he is struggling with all his power to fulfill, is that he has to be strong and fight and remove “the bad cells that are hurting his body”.

Another step towards healing

For those who are willing to help Robert reach the Austrian clinic, accounts were opened at Piraeus Bank, on his mother’s name: Elisabeta-Elena Vlase.

RON: RO 89 PIRB 4222 4052 5100 1000

EURO: RO55 PIRB 4222 4052 5100 2000

For more details, the Vlase family can be contacted at the telephone number: 0723-072149

(Thanks to the National Journal, where the article was published on December 11th, 2009, and to the author Carmen Preotesoiu)

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