For years, Vadim Sytnikov of Lugansk, Ukraine, had an ordinary childhood. He attended the school where his grandmother worked, played in the park with his mother every day, and read stories with his grandfather until late at night. Life was beautiful.
But all of that change in the summer of 2014.
On July 18, 2014, armed conflict broke out in East Ukraine, bringing war right to the doorsteps of the residents of Lugansk. The Jewish community began evacuating families, and Vadim’s family hurried to prepare for transport to a safe location.
Vadim’s mother and grandmother decided to take a quick trip to the market in the center of the city to buy groceries for the journey, and Vadim tagged along. On their way, they met Vadim’s grandfather, Vladimir, who made a split-second decision to take Vadim back home with him instead. Just moments later, Vadim’s mother and grandmother, as well as eight other civilians, were hit by direct mortar fire and died instantly at the scene.
Vladimir buried his wife and daughter and became Vadim’s sole guardian. When the conflict abated, the grieving pair returned to Lugansk to face the deafening silence of their family apartment together. Though he was heartbroken, Vladimir found the strength to make the necessary home repairs. After a while, however, he began feeling his age, and it became difficult for him to care for his grandson, who was always depressed, while also tending to the household chores. To make matters worse, he started to run out of money and had nowhere to turn for assistance.
The LifeChanger FSU coordinator in Lugansk heard about Vladimir and Vadim’s struggles and immediately set a plan in motion. Vadim began meeting with a team of experienced psychologists, who continue to assist him in his recovery from the terrible loss he suffered. He was also enrolled in several extracurricular activities that have helped him improve his social and communication skills and develop relationships with his peers.
LifeChanger FSU also became a support system for Vladimir, providing him with the guidance and assistance he needs to tackle the difficult task of raising a child with severe trauma. Additionally, funds were raised to help Vladimir renovate the apartment and create a warm and welcoming environment for Vadim.
Just a few short years after tragedy struck, shattering Vadim’s beautiful life, he is on the road to recovery. With continued help from LifeChanger FSU, he is destined to become the happy and well-developed young man his mother and grandmother had always hoped he would be.