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Angelina and Kristina Fedorov

Angelina and Kristina Fedorov are seven-year-old twin sisters. So alike and yet so different: Kristina – a mischievous tomboy, and Angelina - a tender princess. Both suffer from cerebral palsy, and both dream of learning to walk and walking to school next year. For their dream to become reality, they need a specialized rehabilitation therapy. For two of them, a course of therapy will cost upwards of $5500, and we need to raise this sum before March, 2011. We are asking for your help!

In 2003, happy young parents Alena and Taras welcomed two beautiful twin daughters – Kristina and Angelina – into their family. Both girls at first thrived and developed normally. But when they were not yet sitting up at ten months old, their parents began to worry. And only two months later, both twins were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. When the girls ended up in cerebral palsy rehabilitation center “Childhood”, their parents saw other children in wheelchairs and realized what a long and difficult journey was ahead of them.

Until the twins turned four, they were treated in Kaliningrad, a city not far from their native Gurievsk. Parents saw no improvements and they began taking the twins to a specialized clinic in Moscow twice or three times a year. Every such trip costs the family around 60000 Rubles (close to $2000) necessary to cover travel expenses and hospital stay. In the Moscow hospital both girls underwent two surgeries each to correct developmental hip dysplasia. They continue to come here for the necessary diagnostic procedures such as x-ray imaging and encephalography, hydro massage therapy and physical therapy.

Between the hospital stays, the family lives in a 150 sq ft room in a hostel and shares the bathroom and kitchen with twenty other families that live on the same floor. This is all they local authorities are able to provide for them – a five year lease agreement for a room in a hostel. In 2009, they saved enough to buy an old used car. The girls’ Dad Taras was able to fix it himself, and it made caring for the girls much easier. Before they had a car, Mom had to take the girls for their daily physical, massage and speech therapy appointments in a stroller, which was very difficult given that most of the city buses are not adapted for either strollers or wheelchairs.

Recently, when Mom came back from Moscow with the girls, she found out that the orphanage where she worked as a teacher has closed and she no longer had a job. Since then, she was not able to find another job with a flexible schedule that would allow her to care for the girls. Right now, Alena is unemployed and dedicates all of her time to her daughters care. In November, they started attending kindergarden. Of course, their Mom is there with them all the time, carrying them in her arms to their classrooms, to the restroom and to cafeteria for lunch.

The treatment and parents’ dedication are already paying off. However, to be able to walk without support and become fully independent in the future, the girls need several courses of intensive rehabilitation therapy a year. A world-renowned International Clinic of Rehabilitation of Prof. Kozyavkin in Truskavets, Ukraine, provides state-of-the art treatment to patients with cerebral palsy from countries of former Soviet Union as well as from all over the world. It was after the first two-week treatment course at Truskavets clinic that both girls made their very first steps using walkers. Now, both girls can use their walkers. Kristina can even walk a little bit holding someone’s hand and gets upset when her Mom wants to put her into a stroller. They are both very eager to show off their new skills. And both pray daily to be able to walk by themselves one day.

Next September, the girls will start first grade. They dream of walking to school, and their dream is within reach, but only if they could continue treatment in Truskavets Cerebral Palsy Clinic. Their return visit to the clinic is scheduled for March, 2011 and will cost 5,458 Euros. Unfortunately, the family cannot raise this amount on their own. The disability payments for both girls are a little over $300 a month. The girls Dad works full time servicing furnaces but his salary rarely exceeds $600 a month. A local internet forum in Kaliningrad helped them raise money for the first course of treatment but now the donations are coming in very slowly.

In addition to cerebral palsy, Angelina has very poor eyesight, 5% of normal, which greatly impedes her ability to learn in school. She was initially diagnosed with developmental delay but soon doctors realized the only reason was her eyesight. Before starting first grade, Angelina needs a consultation of an ophthalmologist, and possibly – corrective surgery. Should that turn out to be the case, that would mean additional medical expenses.

Despite all the hardships, both parents are very optimistic and ready to fight for their children’s future. Mom doesn’t miss a day of speech and physical therapy. As the Mom wrote in her letter, “Of course, sometimes I feed despair and pity for myself and my daughters. And then I see them smile, and my strength returns”.

Please, let’s help these amazing little girls achieve their dream of walking to school! Together we can do it!


January 3, 2013 We’ve learnt that situation is very hard in the family of Angelina and Kristina. Girls’ Dad no longer lives with them, and the girls’s disability benefits are the only source of income for the family. They received an apartment but it’s in a very poor condition, with no heating. Girls’ Mom is not complaining and is doing her best. She has prepared home-made food preserves for winter, and says that they have enough to eat. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to afford rehabilitation and physical therapy for the girls.

April 6, 2011. Angelina and Kristina arrived in the clinic in Truskavets last week. Their Mom Alena writes: "Girls are undergoing rehabilitation therapy. They are both working very hard in physical therapy and and enjoying it very much. Both of them show significant improvements in the muscle tone. Angelina is now able to flex her arms, and her back muscles are getting stronger. And Kristina is almost ready to take first steps without a walker - she just needs to overcome her fear and let go. With four more days to go, we are hopeful that we will see even more improvements, which will become even more apparents when the girls are back home and rested. We are all very thankful to everyone who helped make this trip a reality!"

We would like to thank everyone who donated and made it possible for us to cover this round of treatment for Angelina and Kristina. Thanks to you, the girls are one step closer to living their dream of walking to school next year! Please, continue supporting them. The girls are working very hard but they still have a long road ahead of them.

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