Raisa Stepanivna who lives in the frontline town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine,  recently suffered a heart attack – it was triggered by the many recent tragedies and losses as well as the constant fear for  the loved ones.

Death has come to their house twice in the past two years. First, her husband died. After that, Raisa’s grandson died in excruciating pain caused by stomach cancer. When the guy was still alive and half of the digestive tract organs had been removed,  his mother, Raisa’s daughter was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

This is just the most terrible thing in life – to see your grandson who is half-dead and who has only half of the organs left in his body, sitting at the bed of his terribly sick mother who is fighting her kidney cancer. They all are my children. I am 70, yet my children are much more sick than myself and they are suffering so much pain. Moreover, I am just helpless. I can’t keep the life and health of my children in my own hands … ”- Raisa shared with tears.

The deceased grandson left a little son. Raisa’s daughter who is still fighting her cancer is forced to travel to work to a neighboring city every day to earn money for medications that can help delay the date of death – despite the constant temperature, swelling of her face and legs.

Meanwhile, Raisa Stepanivna flips through the family photo album trying not to forget the life details, moments, events, facial expressions, smiles of the deceased relatives.

She also dreams to finally get warm in their house. After all, the heater she is now using was produced back in 1978 and has completely worn itself out, although it has outlived half Raisa’s relatives. She wants her seriously ill daughter to come to a warm and comfortable home when she comes back from work. While Raisa’s daughter still has these last moments of life Raisa doesn’t want her to spend them in freezing cold.

On November 1, 2019, Raisa’s dream came true. CBN-Emmanuel installed a new solid-fuel heater in Raisa’s home and provided her with 3,4 tons of solid fuel briquettes for the whole winter season.

This project aimed at addressing immediate needs of persons with disabilities living in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine is funded by UN’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund.

70 thousand families like Raisa’s still live in conflict-affected area in eastern Ukraine. They all need peace and warmth this winter.

By Anna Chaban