Hello family and friends,
The countdown has begun. Wednesday evening, March 25th, my feet will step onto American soil. It will be great to be home for a time, visiting old friends and making new ones.
Many things have happened in the past two years. I like to look at the progress of the children to mark time. There are two children in particular, Dasha and Nastya, that I want to focus on. They are in the video portion of my presentation.
When I met Dasha who is now 5, she was already making progress. Her cerebral palsy affected her legs mostly. She had poor balance and spasticity in her legs. She could walk a little, but had to hold onto the massage table. She continually would lean toward the massage table, loosing her balance as she walked. Within a year of massage and other related therapies, her progress was most exciting. She is now walking independently for more than 10 steps. I followed Dasha and her mother recently as they climbed the steps and walked together to the therapy session. Just imagine what I will have to report about her next year.
Do you remember Nastya? She asked if I was Santa Claus. When I met her at age 3, she could walk only on her tip toes, but her balance was very bad. She needed her mother to hold her hand to provide a very firm support. Within a year her progress was amazing. Along with other therapies, massage has corrected many neurological and muscular weaknesses. Now, Nastya is walking independently for 10 or more steps. I am so very happy to see progress for this wonderful child.
We are treating more than 20 children with similar and more serious forms of cerebral palsy. Our economy has changed in the past three years, so $3.50 is no longer enough money for a single massage. Parents have been supplementing this amount with almost as much. That makes a statement about the economy and the value of our massage therapists. Most of all, that says that our goal to help is being accomplished. Most of the parents don’t want a handout. They want to take responsibility for their own children whom they love dearly.
In March of 2004, the MUCH massage clinic began providing treatment for children with disabilities. Today, five years later, you can see the great results. Children are no longer being deprived of treatment in the local polytechnic clinic. The city has turned a kind eye toward these children. MUCH is opening doors of example that are being respected and followed. I look forward to the day that MUCH will no longer be needed in Illichevsk and can start another massage clinic in a nearby village that has similar need. That is our purpose, to be the catalyst, to ignite the fire of compassion and care in the hearts of the local people and government.
I thank everyone who has helped to make this possible. This has been a team effort. Most of all, I thank God for calling me and guiding our team to the success that we see today.
Blessings of love and healing,