Good deeds can only be done with love.
My name is Evdokia. By profession I’m a teacher, but for ten years I have been actively engaged in politics. I hold different public posts at the local and national level. And as most Bulgarians, has not stayed aside from contributing to different charity campaigns happening around Easter and Christmas. I started thinking about giving as a virtue after attending the Bulgarian School of Politics. And the cause, which the class of 2008 chose to support financially through giving initiatives, was the first one in which I was directly engaged. After that, as a deputy-mayor and a municipal counselor I was engaged with different charity causes. Of course, this doesn’t make me a philanthropist, just a person who tries to do good things. And good deeds can only be done with love.
Such is the charity campaign “To give a helping hand to Ivo!” This is an initiative in which I have just a small supporting role. The chief organizer and inspirer of all activities is 17-old Fani, for whom the thoughts for the forthcoming graduation ball and final exams were replaced by the worries for the life and health of her younger brother.
I can’t talk about other countries but in Bulgaria definitely it is not common to speak about philanthropic activities in which you take part. Actually we have a proverb “Make good and throw it behind your shoulders.” I share this proverb to a certain extent as charity is a personal act, but from the other side if we want to revive giving traditions in our society, we need to learn from good examples. And the campaign “To give a helping hand to Ivo!” is such an example not only because it is to help an ill child but because its initiators are also children and teenagers who call themselves “sellers of hope.” That is why I agreed to tell this story, because the fight for a child’s life is always touchy. And Ivo’s smile after each small stage of his battle with the illness – inspiring!
Until February 2014, Ivo was an ordinary 13-year old teenager who was the same as all his co-fellows. After an accident at the school, he had an operation. After some medical checks, he and his family understood that Ivo suffered a rare illness and needed a life-saving operation abroad. Unfortunately his family and relatives didn’t have the amount needed for the operation. Fani – Ivo’s sister, started a campaign for raising the necessary funds. She already had some experience with such causes as one year before she organized a similar campaign for a completely unknown boy from Bourgas without even thinking that in the near future she would be in the same situation with a family member and that her experience would have been priceless.
At the beginning, Fani and her friends set boxes at the schools of both teenagers and appealed through the social media to organize a town event. And that was how I learned about the problem with this family, whom I’d known for many years and considered my friends. Both teenagers were my pupils from the primary school. They actually did not approach me for assistance. I offered it because at such moment only the efforts of relatives were not sufficient. “To give a helping hand to Ivo!” is not my own giving story. But it is part of me because it brought back my faith in Bulgarians’ good will and generosity.
The start of the charity campaign “To give a helping hand to Ivo!” was with a concert in the hall of the town’s cultural center in Radomir. Many amateur performers and a hundred citizens, state and municipal institutions, firms and non-governmental organizations united to support Ivo to live. A series of concerts in different towns, club events, sells, fairs, sports events, participations in TV broadcasts, and articles in electronic and print media followed. The amount raised was higher than our most ambitious expectations but without the support of the Center Fund for Treatment of Children at the Ministry of Health we would not have managed. After we overcame many administrative obstacles, the Fund added the rest of the needed amount and Ivo flew off to Germany. The first operation was successful, followed by a second one, and another one, while the Fund continued to find new supporters with big hearts. Ivo – the hero of our story – was lucky as the treatment gave positive results. He returned to school but he and his family still face many challenges.
The campaign “To give a helping hand to Ivo!” continues. It is just one of the many initiatives in raising funds for the treatment of children. Hundreds still need medical help abroad because in Bulgaria child healthcare is not a state priority. The budget of the Center Fund for Treatment of Children is not sufficient, which makes such charity campaigns crucial. Until our health system is “ill”, many public efforts are needed to support children suffering from heavy illnesses. In most cases our helping hand is their only hope.
Someone has said that to support somebody who is in trouble is as important as moving a railway arrow just in time – millimeters divide the crash from the safe and smooth way of life. And for children with such illnesses as Ivo, time is crucial. Often some of them lose the battle for life because of burdensome administrative procedures required by the state health institutions. Organizing charity campaigns for raising funds for children suffering from heavy illnesses are not easy but are very inspiring. It is worth supporting them, and I hope that these good examples need to be spread. I will continue working in this direction not only because I feel extremely satisfied by doing good deeds but also because I strongly believe that every new person won as an ally is a new chance for life. And the life of each child is an investment in our future!