Saturday, July 12, 2014


The ability to always be an optimist and happy about life is not something everyone possess, particularly in Mareks’ situation.

Mareks is 25 now. Three years ago, he made an unfortunate jump into a lake and broke three cervical vertebrae. Now Mareks is a disabled person of the first category with body paralysis, who is completely dependent on the assistance of other people. He can neither eat, nor perform any household or hygienic procedures – nothing. Despite that now Mareks moves in a special wheelchair with chin control, the boy has mastered a special computer programme controlled by clicking keys with the mouth. He is still smiling and motivated to live and be useful for the society. Mareks asks himself and other people a rhetorical question: “So do I have to sit at home and cry into my pillow?! I want to live!”

He tells the newspaper “Katoļu baznīcas vēstnesis”: “I never grieved about my life. So I have a trauma, so what do I do now? Get the hump? I will not be any easier. I was always optimistic and positively thinking. I try to help myself; other people and friends help as well. I try to meet with friends, watch positive movies. I do not need for someone to pity me, because I start feeling depressed myself. Pitying does not help at all.

My life turned upside down. I used to work and even had an idea of trying to study for a neurosurgeon or microsurgeon. Now I have a different view of life. I understand that something of that kind might happen to anyone anytime. Had I known where I would fall, I would not have come to that place at all, but everyone has his own cross to bear. Now I see people in a different light. I started to notice other disabled persons. I used not to see them at all, because I was on my feet. Now I meet then during the rehabilitation, in hospitals or on the street, on the Internet. My best friend has a friend Gatis who had lost both of his arms when he was six, trying to get inside a transformer house. We communicate and think of how the life of disabled persons can be improved.”
Mareks wants to finish secondary school (he does it via distance training); after that, he is thinking of obtaining further education, for instance, in the field of law. As Mareks says: “If I can’t use my body, I will use my head!”

“I am always accompanied by an assistant, and when my mother has a day off at the hospital – by mom, because people need to have a rest from work and from each other. I spend practically all day at the computer, studying. I want to finish 12th grade. When I moved from Bauska to Riga at the age of 17 to get off parents’ neck, I started working in the construction area and did not manage to finish my studies at the evening school. Likewise, when I was working at a hospital, I did not continue my studies. Now I have a possibility to do it, I have plenty of time; I study at Riga Distance Learning Secondary School No.1. The studies go well. I am waiting for my exams, and after them I, probably, could study in Jurmala, where a professional school especially adjusted for disabled persons is located.

We used to live in a five-storey house and I did not have a possibility of going out, but then we received a social apartment on the first floor. I got the wheelchair, and now I can go outside. Moreover, my friends tend to come over with a car and we go for trips. We make shashlik with relatives here in the garden. I also participated in sports games for “wheelchairers”. Not so long ago my friends took me on a ride around Bauska, since I had not seen it for a long time. When I was living in the 1st hospital in summer, I went to restaurant together with my friends. I would love to go somewhere else again,” Mareks tells in his interview to the newspaper.

Mareks currently lives in a social apartment in Bauska. He pays approximately 150 EUR for the apartment a month. His pension is 208 EUR, care allowance is 142 EUR. Mareks needs a sitter 24 hours a day; however, the local government is unable to provide it. In order to ensure a sitter for the son, mom works two jobs and has hired a sitter for 300 EUR a month. She takes care of the son, when the sitter has a day off. Mom could have taken the responsibilities of a sitter herself, but if she received care allowance, she would not be able to pay the credit for her flat, let alone to survive. This model has been currently recognized as the best one, yet it does not solve the problem, and the family is catastrophically low on money all the time.

It is also problematic to get a special transport. For instance, Mareks cannot go and receive state paid orthoses or wheelchair, because there is just no specialized transport. It is good that there is a friend in Olaine, who has such transport and helps Mareks as much as he can.
Mareks was given a hope that by undergoing a rehabilitation course he might restore movement of his arms. He would undergo certain examinations, consultations, treatments and therapy course at the rehabilitation centre in Saint-Petersburg, which might help him.

Rehabilitation costs amount for 4600 EUR.

Mareks is unable to pay such amount of money, but by helping him, we can “return” a hard-working and positive young man to Latvia!
Let’s help!

Donation phone: 90006888 (price for call 1,42 EUR)
STILL NEED HELP: 678,50 EUR (from 4600 EUR; 18.06.14.*)

* We will be regularly updating the list of donators and the amount of the provided help
* We will definitely inform about the exact use of the donations in our next photo-report

Anonīms – EUR 1,50 (19.06.14.)
Mārtiņš Kļaviņš – EUR 20,00 (20.06.14.)
Agnese Grizāne – EUR 5,00 (20.06.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 10,00 (20.06.14.)
Raivis Vigups – EUR 13,00 (23.06.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 20,00 (23.06.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 250,00 (26.06.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 3,00 (27.06.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 15,00 (27.06.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 20,00 (04.07.14.)
Kaspars Auslands – EUR 50,00 (07.07.14.)
Edgars Vizulis – EUR 30,00 (07.07.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 20,00 (07.07.14.)
Anonīms EUR 15,00 (08.07.14.)
Mārtiņš Zaķis – EUR 20,00 (08.07.14.)
Arnis Lazdenieks – EUR 2,00 (08.07.14.)
Jānis Gailis EUR – 15,00 (08.07.14.)
Aija Veisa – EUR 10,00 (08.07.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 5,00 (11.07.14.)
Jāzeps Kozurs – EUR 2,00 (11.07.14.)
Monta Jēkabsone – EUR 5,00 (14.07.14.)
Gunita Briņķe – EUR 10,00 (21.07.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 10,00 (22.07.14.)
Santa Zapacka – EUR 20,00 (23.07.14.)
Biedrība “Tici savam sapnim” – EUR 682,00 (30.07.14.)
Gundars Hazens – EUR 30,00 (01.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 20,00 (11.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 4,00 (18.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 21,00 (18.08.14.)
Linda Zālīte – EUR 50,00 (18.08.14.)
Agnese Treilone – EUR 200,00 (19.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 20,00 (19.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 6,00 (20.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 15,00 (20.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 50,00 (20.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 200,00 (20.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 200,00 (25.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 10,00 (25.08.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 5,00 (27.08.14.)
Natālija Bogdanoviča – EUR 40,00 (02.09.14.)
Katrīna Jirgensone – EUR 10,00 (04.09.14.)
Ilze Skuja – EUR 10,00 (03.04.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 1000,00 (08.09.14.)
Anete Lazdāne – EUR 10,00 (12.09.14.)
Anonīms – EUR 10,00 (22.09.14.)
Ralfs Biķernieks – EUR 25,00 (22.09.14.)
Biedrība “Tici savam sapnim” – EUR 249,00 (08.10.14.)
Tukmanis Jānis – EUR 15,00 (20.10.14.)

Interview used in the story: Ilze Mežniece, Happy even in the wheelchair, “Katoļu baznīcas vēstnesis”, 17 April 2014

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