Heart filled with Joy

Luba, Monika, Jan and Nikita
Cherkasy, Ukraine

Monika, Jan and Nikita saw their mother gasp and put her hand to her chest. She took a deep breath and managed a wan smile. “Don’t worry children,” she reassured them although doubt began to creep into her mind, “I am fine.”

Several years ago, Luba, a single mother, had a heart attack and had to have a pacemaker installed. At the time it had been an expense that devastated her family, but they managed to pay for it. Recently she had been feeling sharp pains in her chest on occasion but ignored them knowing that there was no way she could afford to have health problems again.

Her children were being raised in a small room that the four of them shared. Being a scrupulous housekeeper, Luba managed to keep the place tidy. She worked a minimum wage job that just about covered rent, basic food items and clothing staples. Whatever they could not afford, the Cherkassy Jewish community would supply them second hand.

Everyday, when the kids came home from school, the oldest daughter, Monika, would heat up the porridge or soup that her mother had prepared before sunrise that day. Luba would return home from work in time to tuck her children into bed.

Finally she could push it off no longer, she made an appointment with a heart specialist. He checked her pacemaker and it became clear that it was not functioning properly. “You will have to have a new one put in,” he said, and she burst into tears.

Weeks passed and she didn’t tell anyone about her terrible news. The pains were coming more frequently and she finally decided to turn to the local Jewish community for help.

The kind Rabbi directed her to Elena Shpanel, the local LifeChanger FSU coordinator. As soon as Elena met with Luba and heard her sad story she sprang into action. Surgery for the mother of four was scheduled for two weeks later.

Meanwhile, LifeChanger FSU started sending food packages and clothing to Luba’s house. The children were given psychological support to deal with their mother’s health issues and surgery and the difficult conditions in which they live.

During the surgery and recovery period, LifeChanger FSU and the local rabbi and Jewish community took care of her and the children, never allowing them to go hungry or be lonely.

It was a bright eyed Luba with a spring in her step who hugged Elena and said, “you have given us our lives back, thank you for your support and kindness. LifeChanger FSU saved my life and has given my children their mother back.”

She looked at her children, her healthy heart beating with pride and hope for a wonderful future for them all.