Rescue of Olenka from Mariupol


I will tell you about another family that ended up in Italy thanks to “Timosha’s Smile” and all of you❤️. I will not be able to tell about all the evacuated children and not about all the stories. But I want to write about those who have become very close to my heart. So, Dasha Artamonova, Sasha, and their daughter Olenochka. From MARIUPOL.

Next, her mother continues:

We found out that Lenochka was seriously ill in January 2022. Before that, she sometimes had headaches, even fainted a couple of times, but I didn’t take it seriously. Then bruises appeared on her arms. On the night of January 16-17, Lena had a severe cramp all over the back of her right leg, which did not let go for a minute. We contacted our pediatrician. She directed us to a neurologist. The doctor examined her, said that this was not her case, but when she saw bruises on her body, she cold-bloodedly expressed her opinion: “Do not rule out, Mom, that this can be LEUKEMIA!!!” I was simply outraged by such statements and conclusions without analysis and did not want to believe in it.

On January 19, we were sent to take tests, and on that day they were not encouraging. But the final diagnosis could only be made after a bone marrow puncture, and this couldn’t be done in Mariupol. At that moment, words cannot express what we felt as parents. The world has stopped, everything has become so meaningless, except for one thing – Lena’s life. Previously, we lived and did not think that this could happen in our family, but in the depths of my soul there was a hope that everything would work out, that this was a mistake, and everything would be as before.

On January 24, accompanied by an ambulance, we were taken to Zaporizhzhia, they took a puncture and diagnosed us with acute myeloid leukemia. From that date began our struggle for life. But no one could have thought that we left Mariupol exactly a month before the start of the war…

Lena and I were alone in Zaporizhzhia, my family stayed in Mariupol. Interruptions with communication with relatives, air raids, descending into the basement, or even staying there all day and night. At that time, Lena had aplasia and the second block of chemotherapy, but at the sound of an air raid alarm, everyone fled to the basement. It was scary and not clear – what is next?! What about relatives!? … Will we be able to complete the treatment while in Zaporizhzhia? What about a bone marrow transplant? After all, with our diagnosis, we need a transplant, which was planned to be done in Kyiv, at Okhmatdyt clinic. After a while, the situation in the country worsened, I found out that children with cancer from Kyiv were taken to Poland. And then the question appeared: “What to do next?!?”

There was no one to consult with, relatives did not get in touch, this was more and more depressing.

Social media links started coming from friends about the treatment of children abroad. There were offers of treatment in Poland, Israel, Germany and Italy. For me, as a person who has never been abroad, without special knowledge of English, alone, with a sick child, during the hostilities in the country, it was very scary. But I understood that I needed to save the life of my daughter. All responsibility lay on my shoulders, it was necessary to somehow act, and decide.

But without the support of loved ones and without knowing what happened to them there, in Mariupol, I was afraid to make the wrong decision. I prayed to God that He would help, and give me signs so that I would not overlook them. And God did not leave us in this difficult hour for us. He sent me people who shared a link to “Timosha’s Smile” Christian Charitable Foundation, which organized the evacuation of children with cancer to the Italian clinic Maria Letizia Verga for free treatment.

When I saw the page of Yuliia Sanko, which contained a story about how several families with sick children had already been transferred to this Italian clinic, it became a little easier for me to decide. Yuliia, a bright soul, very sincerely with tears in her eyes, was glad for every family that managed to bring sick children for treatment. This pushed me even more, and I decided to contact “Timosha’s Smile”.

I contacted them. All that needed to be done at that moment was to get from Zaporizhzhia to Rivne, given that the child was weak and the difficult situation in the country, and taking a free train to Lviv was not the best option in my case. But the Lord took care of us here too. Sasha’s employee, who was in Zaporizhzhia these days, decided to help us. The road was not easy, everything didn’t go according to plan. We didn’t get to Rivne, we were told to go straight to the border with Poland because that day there was a tense situation near Belarus. We decided not to take risks.

At the Polish border, we met with the rest of the parents, who were supposed to travel by bus from Rivne through Poland to Italy. In Poland, we were accommodated in a gym. Closer to dinner, Lena’s temperature rose to 39, an ambulance came. By evening, the temperature began to rise sharply to 41. This went on for several more days, the temperature kept high all the time, went down for a while and rose again until we flew by plane to Milan.

Yura Sanko met us at the airport and took us straight to the clinic. And there was no limit to my surprise. The attitude of doctors and medical staff is the first thing that won me over and was sweet to my heart – to see that my child is happy and that doctors are ready to help. They surrounded Lena with care, double-checked all the tests and were very surprised at how miraculously we flew because at any moment there could be a hemorrhage … The miracles of the Lord saved Lena.

Being in the clinic, seeing the attitude towards the child, a separate ward, a food menu, a TV, a shower in the ward, I thanked God, Yuliia and Yura all the time and said that we were in paradise! I couldn’t believe my eyes that this was happening. That the hospital can be so comfortable. I have never seen doctors and nurses in a bad mood, everyone smiles, asks how you feel, cheers you up. In Ukraine, during the chemotherapy block, mothers changed the bottles on their own when the infusion pump squeaked, in Italy, you only had to press the button and call the nurse, who would do everything herself. Just amazing.

Our family sincerely thanks Yura and Yuliia Sanko and “Timosha’s Smile“ Foundation for their kind hearts, for their incredible support and help. Thanks to them we are here! But we could not dream that we can be treated in such conditions. With all our hearts, we wish to make the Dream come true as soon as possible and build the best clinic for children with cancer in Ukraine. I believe you will succeed!!! And the Lord will help you in this!!!

To join:


PayPal: timoshas.smile@gmail.com

Current account:


5169 3305 2239 4722

P.S. Please pray for Lenochka. ❤️

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