We load cases of flour amd cooking oil onto an old gurney. I'm on the monthly trip with the American Women's Club to help stock the Ronald McDonald House Foundation kitchen. I'm hoping the flat of sugar and tea somehow offer a tiny bit of comfort to families staying with their children while they undergo treatment at Moscow's largest cancer clinic.
A nurses carries a 1950's-looking syringe in the air as she walks into a room. After we stock the kitchen, the AWC group distributes little gifts to the kids, juice boxes and candies and puzzles and bubbles--a playful distraction from the pain and boredom that cancer treatment looks like. A student studying in the hall, a baseball cap over his shaved head, after some prodding, shyly reads his English homework to me, "I. like. to. swim." Another teenage patient sits in the hall reading Pushkin.
The little guy in the photo above, Zahar, had a six inch incision up the back of his head where, a month ago, they removed a brain tumor. The tumor had affected his ability to learn to walk. Like most parents with kids in this clinic, the mom left her job so she could stay in the hospital with the baby. The papa says Zahar has already taking his first steps.
Some of the newer chemotherapy medicines these kids need aren't provided by the state and must be paid for by families themselves. Apparently, cancer can be cured, but it ain't free.
In the kitchen, a mom is cooking potatoes in oil. The families, biding their time in the clinic, have enough toys and magazines. I'm sure you are already contributing wherever you are, however you can. In the CLO office, I'm putting some money in the plastic container that goes directly to buy medicine and equipment for children at this clinic in Moscow. Let's keep it up. This month, a teeny boy in tights had brain surgery and then learned to walk.