Family reaches out to Ukraine

Coldstream residents helping a child battling with erebral palsy.

Artemiy Kolev

Artemiy Kolev

A Coldstream couple’s heart has gone out to help family overseas, and now they are hopeful the Greater Vernon community might also be able to lend some support.

Jen and Ed Drozda, of Coldstream, are sponsoring a family from Ukraine, cousins of theirs, as the youngest of the family battles with spastic cerebral palsy.

“Artemiy is a five-year-old boy who has the most beautiful captivating smile you can imagine,” said Ed, who is a cousin to Artemiy Kolev as well as his father Alexander.

“At the age of five years he is not able to speak, stand, walk or sit unsupported.”

Artemiy’s parents, Alexander and Oksana, have put all their efforts and resources into caring for their son. But the situation in Ukraine isn’t ideal.

Along with their own financial struggles, unlike North America there are no support services for anyone with a child that has cerebral palsy.

“The family does not have a medical insurance plan. In Ukraine only a visit to their doctor is paid for. All other expenses are their responsibility,” said Ed, adding that Artemiy has not had any corrective surgeries but his parents have paid for approximately 22 therapies with no noticeable improvement.

Just to make Artemiy’s life more comfortable, he needs several pieces of specialized equipment. He is on a list for a wheelchair from the government, however, it is estimated that it will take about six years for him to reach the top of the list.

“About a year and a half ago my wife and I decided to see what we could do to help Artemiy and his family,” said Ed. “Our efforts led us to the Vernon Shrine Club, who have been just outstanding with their assistance.”

Persistence paid off and the family recently learned that the Shriners Hospital for Children in Montreal has accepted Artemiy’s case.

“They will have Artemiy attend at the hospital in the spring of 2015 to be assessed to determine what treatment will be needed and where it can be done,” said Ed.

While all costs while the child is in their hospital will be covered by the Shriners, the remainder are not, including airfare, accommodation, meals, transportation and translator.

“We are now asking for donations to help bring Artemiy to Montreal for medical attention he so richly deserves,” said Ed. “This family has had a rough time over the past five years and anything that would help them would be greatly appreciated.”

A special bank account has been set up at the Prospera Credit Union, Vernon Branch, 910 – 4400 32nd St., Vernon, B.C. V1T 9H2, account # 809 42460 703335239.