Friday, October 2, 2009

The bright boy Ilya

PHOTODONATION: Santa Spilberga

Ilya is a very special boy - he is intelligent, with a heart of gold, positive attitude and endless desire to do good in spite of the fact that life has not been too kind to him.

We meet Ilya at the Malta Music School where he learns to play the piano. Everyone in the Orlov family loves music. His sister Dana plays flute and violin, while his younger sister Lily plays piano just like Ilya himself.

Ilya is 14 and in spite of the fact that he can mainly move around only in a wheelchair, he is a student at the Malta 2nd Secondary School. Last May he underwent yet another surgery, which gave the boy a possibility to stand up and walk around using crutches.

The boy is very gifted and versatile what makes one think that the illness and crutches are not meant for him. It seems his diagnosis (hydrocephaly and leg paresis) only makes Ilya's desire to live, learn, sing and play beautiful music ever stronger.

As he puts it, "I was born to help others!" and we feel that when we meet Ilya. It seems that the classroom we enter where the boy learns to play the piano is filled with light and this light is coming from Ilya himself. We do intrude on his lesson a little but the teacher Ludmila bids him to play the piece again for us. We sit bewitched as we listen to his performance of the "Ballad for Adeline". As Ilya plays straight from his heart his teacher corrects him a few times by indicating the correct note. When the last note ends, we applaud him, and he asks us, glowing: "Did you like it?"

His teacher tells us Ilya learns to play the piano for the 3rd year, and he is her favorite student. She says, "Ilya is a real human being. He's still small but he is a real human being with a heart in the right place!"

I ask him if he likes to spend his time playing piano instead of doing more interesting things like playing computer games J and Ilya's answer comes without any hesitation: "Of course I do! I love to sing and play the piano!" We bid him to sing us something and are stunned when he starts to perform because what we hear is so beautiful, supernatural, and melodious and takes our breath away.

Ilya has participated in many competitions, and he and his sisters take part in different local charity events. As he puts it himself, "To bring people joy, make them celebrate, so they could smile more!"

Ilya has even sung together with Ieva Akurātere and that was an unforgettable experience for both.

Orlov family has recorded their own 2 albums that include songs performed by all their kids and Ilya has done the cover art, so he can give the CDs to his friends. We receive these amazing CDs too. To record the albums family took out a loan in order to buy the necessary equipment yet it will be difficult to pay back this loan because the only source of income is the salary his dad gets for working at the Malta hospital.

His mom Olga is glowing as she tells us about her kids' for her, they are the sweetest and the very best. Mom's day consists of bringing kids to their schools, preparing for the contests and doing the daily chores.

"You can't sit doing nothing when God has blessed you with such talents!" She says about her children.

Mom goes to the local school to teach beading while her kids are at the music school thus bringing joy to other children and making little gifts to other people. Olga says, kids shouldn't think about the crisis, they shouldn't be given negative information and emotions. Children should see and hear only the good things!

This family gave us not only their CDs but endless serenity and positive emotions. We would like you to feel them too as you browse through the photo story prepared by the photographer Santa Spilberga and maybe it will make you reconsider what really matters- material goods, we all so crave or serenity of soul and kids' resilience.

Ilya needs money for rehabilitation, especially equine therapy that costs around 130 lats a month (100 lats for the sessions and 30 lats for travel expenses).

A piece of equipment, like a treadmill with a speed limit option, to strengthen his legs would be extremely useful to Ilya.

Another current issue is the purchase of a bath tub. Let's help!

Huge thanks to the angels of Ilya:

Our photographers

Nadežda Ņedospasova -13,- LVL (28.09.09.)

Aigars Rozentāls- 15,- LVL (30.09.09.)

Jūlija Stefanoviča- 10,- LVL (09.10.09.)

Viola Krapivina- 20,- LVL (12.10.09.)

Anonymous contributor - LVL 100,- (20.11.09.)

Anonymous contributor - LVL 25,- (04.01.10.)

Anonymous contributor - LVL 20,- (29.03.10.) for equipment, like a treadmill

Lelde Gangnuse - LVL 42,- (28.06.11.)

April 2010
We bring the exercise equipment and Iļja is very glad about it! The cost of the exercise equipment is 400 LVL. Many thanks to the holding company LNK GROUP and all the contributors about this gift!

July 2010
Iļja with his mum were in the rehabilitation centre in Vaivari (05-20.07.). The amount paid for that is 752 LVL . Many thanks to the holding company LNK Group!

September 2010
During the campaign “10 000 butterflies for LV children” we have gathered 1000 LVL for Iļja.

On 09.09. Iļja had an orthopedic operation after which he would like to go to the rehabilitation
center in Teplici, the Czech Republic. We are waiting for the possibilities and costs there.

Many thanks to Lelde and Aigars with the big group of the supporters who helped Iļja and his sisters to get prepared for the school!

Thanks to our interpreters Līga and Anita about the translation of the medical statements.


06.01.11. We visited Ilya’s family after the holidays by bringing them the Christmas gifts which were provided by Lelde, Aivars and their friends. In those days there was no electricity in Latgale area for several days, so the family was specially glad for the candles which was a part of the gift:)

23.02.11. Very soon Iļja will finally go to the long ago awaited rehabilitation in Slovenia. Many many thanks to Air Baltic for the air tickets, all contributors, everybody who took part in the butterfly campaign, also the foundation "".

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