Fourteen-year-old Marianna Tikich loves to perform at community celebrations and practice music at the JCC in Mariupol, a city of about 500,000 people in southeastern Ukraine.
Marianna’s mother Elena is unemployed, and her father Leonid struggles to provide for his family on his small salary from Mariupol’s airport, where he works in operations. The family of three lives on about $260 a month.
Two weeks ago, the unthinkable happned: happy, healthy Marianna was hospitalized after a stroke. Though the initial diagnosis was recurrent cardiomyopathy – a weakening of the heart muscle – a final cause has not been fully determined, and more tests are required.
When Leonid and Elena found themselves unable to pay for their daughter’s growing medical expenses, the JDC-supported Jewish Family Service (JFS) stepped in.
With the economic uncertainty throughout Ukraine compounded by the Mariupol airport’s recent decision to furlough its employees during the crisis, Leonid and Elena’s financial circumstances are shaky. Luckily, JFS has continued its regular operations, paying for Marianna’s medicines and heart and brain ultrasounds.
Thanks to JDC, Marianna is getting the help she and her family desperately need. In addition to the medical bills, JFS has provided the family with a food card to use at the local supermarket and critical winter clothes.
For JDC, Marianna is just one of thousands of the most vulnerable Ukrainian Jews we are committed to assisting – during crises and during quiet times. But for the Tikich family, our support can mean the difference between life and death.
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