4-year old Timur likes playing with his cars and making crafts with play dough.

He loves creating police officers, cars and flowers for his mother using various colors. All of Timur’s toys were given to the boy by his mother and grandmother. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive even one toy from his Dad who left the family on the date when the boy was born…

We are walking with Timur and his grandmother in the yard of  Kramatorsk city hospital.

In about 3 hours the boy is going to have a surgery that’s about to change his life. Timur, unlike other children of his age, is not afraid of doctors. In the 4 years of his life, he has been to doctors too many times. Each time, they would examine his right hand with only 4 fingers.

Timur was born in the front-line town of Vrubivka in war-affected eastern Ukraine on October 30, 2014. It was the peak of the war in their region. His 18-year-old mother Kristina spent most of her pregnancy fearing for her life and in constant stress. Kristina’s boy-friend left her right after the boy was born. It appeared, he was not yet ready to become a father. Timur is four now and it’s the  the age when children start being aware of their body. For the last six month Timur has been wanting to become like all other kids. He can’t understand why he has only four fingers on his right hand instead of five.

My daughter didn’t tell us anything about the boy’s deformity for a whole week, shares Yelena, Timur’s grandmother. “She would keep telling everyone that everything was OK with the baby.”

When they were discharged from the maternity house, she called me and half-whispered, “I need to tell you something. Timur’s fingers have some defect, I will show you later when I will be changing his diapers”. She was very sad and alarmed”.

This diagnosis did not become a big shock for our family, because it wasn’t threating the baby’s life. When Timur was three months old, we took him to Lisichansk hospital. The X-rays examination showed that he had not just a pathology in his fingers, but also a joined phalanx. This greatly complicated the situation. Now he needed not just a finger splitting operation, but a plastic surgery, which would allow the phalanges to be separated without any consequences. When we were told the preliminary cost of a plastic surgery, we couldn’t believe our ears. We never had such an amount of money in our hands! We did not know what to do next. It looked like a dead end … “

Timur’s grandmother Yelena is  the head of the palace of culture of the village. Since the beginning of the war, she provided a room to CBN volunteers in the club so that they could provide food bags to the people in need. “I have always been an apolitical and anti-religious person, but when the war began, volunteers from various organizations began to actively help the victims of war by distributing food, diapers, medicines. CBN-Emmanuel was one of these charities. Every month, for over 2 years, the employees of this organization provided food for the poorest people from our village. From these volunteers I learned that CBN-Emmanuel had a medical program called “Life Changing Surgeries”. Of course, my daughter and I caught hold onto this chance! We had only one year left while Timur still could have the needed surgery. We immediately contacted Galina Kucher, the head of CBN-Emmanuel Humanitarian and Disaster Relief projects in war-affected eastern Ukraine. You can’t imagine how happy we were when we heard “YES!!! Galina Kucher  told us about the best surgeon in the Donetsk region, who already had experience in conducting such operations!

All emotional euphoria has already passed both for Timur’s mother and grandmother. You can see peace and happiness in their faces – now that they know that after the surgery the boy will become healthy. His play-dough crafts will become more refined and elegant, because he will be able to use all five fingers to create them. His little friends from the kindergarten will not poke their fingers directly into the ill-fated hand and say: “And why do you have only 4 fingers?”.

This life-changing surgery was made possible thanks to CBN-Emmanuel’s partners. After the surgery, the boy will have to spend a whole month in the hospital, away from his family and two more months will be needed for his rehabilitation and complete recovery. After all, three months is nothing compared to the boy’s whole life ahead!

Anna Chaban for CBN-Emmanuel