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Hello family and friends,

I wish for you a holy holiday season as we draw close to the days that different religions celebrate their joyous times. Here in Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on January sixth. During this season of giving, we focus on others. Giving to the needs of others can be an overwhelming joy. For the one who receives, the gift can be a lifesaver. The programs that we support through your generosity are lifesavers in many ways.

We are in the midst of our Christmas Fundraiser. Your gift to MUCH will help ensure that we can continue to support our three major outreach programs in the coming year: the Massage Therapy Clinic in Illichevsk, Marganets Orphanage, and the Emmaus Scholarship Program. Other programs that we support on a year-to-year basis, depending on our financial situation, include Marganets Transition House, the Dobromel Orphanage, the Froonza Massage Therapy Program and special programs at Marganets Orphanage.

I visited the Massage Therapy Clinic in Illichevsk this week to take some new video of some of the children who benefit from our treatment program. Four of the six children are infants, less than a year old. A neurologist has diagnosed their muscular problems and prescribed treatment for them. On one hand, it is heartbreaking to see these little ones with such a difficult start in their lives. On the other hand, it is a great joy to have the opportunity to provide the Early Intervention Program for them. It is so heartwarming to watch Tanya, one of our two medical masseuses, work through the treatment program that will help correct the child’s problem. I saw progress in the children even as I watched. Many of the problems we see in the youngest children will affect walking. One of our goals is to correct the problem so the child will be able to walk and thus attend school at the appropriate age.

Dasha, a bright child with Cerebral Palsy that affects her legs, has grown since I last saw her at the Clinic. I compared video of her then and now, and I see the progress she has made over the past several years. When I first met her, she had problems with balance that made walking very difficult, but she is walking independently now and attending school.

Children will not outgrow their muscular problems. The time to provide therapeutic massage is while they are growing and the central nervous system is still developing. Unfortunately, growth, in itself, is causing the muscular system to develop without symmetry. This means that our task is to work faster than the child will develop, retraining the body to operate differently. Some call it rewiring the brain.

As I look to Christmas, my holy holiday season, I feel so very blessed to be able to give our children new opportunities to enrich their lives through your generosity. MUCH and all of its sponsors give hope to the children and their mothers. I see that hope in the mothers’ eyes, hope that their children will live a better life because of the treatment they receive through the Massage Therapy Clinic. Sasha’s mother is among those who are grateful for the Clinic and what it has done for her daughter. Ira will tell you about our visit with Sasha.

On behalf of the MUCH teams here and in America, and for all the children and families whose lives have improved through your generosity, may your holy days be blessed and your New Year be filled with joy and peace.

Blessings of love and healing,


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