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Only those who keep fighting till the very end can win

Konrad Mielczarek
Campaign finished
Campaign goal:

intensywna rehabilitacja, aby Konrad odzyskał sprawność po wypadku

Campaign organiser: Fundacja Słoneczko
Konrad Mielczarek, 26 years
Dąbie, wielkopolskie
porażenie czterokończynowe, naderwany rdzeń kręgowy
Starts on: 26 October 2016
Ends at: 04 September 2017

Campaign description

This handsome young man in the uniform smiling from the picture above is Konrad – my son. Today he should be sitting in the cockpit of a military plane, controlling the yoke with strong and healthy hands. He was to become a pilot… He had been dreaming about it since early childhood and his dreams were soon to become true. One second ruined everything he had been working for in the first 20 years of his life. Today instead of a plane cockpit, there is only a wheelchair. Konrad is paralysed from his waist down…

Konrad Mielczarek

Human life, dreams, plans… all of it is so fragile, as easily breakable as the thinnest layer of ice, as the finest china… One day I was the mother of a healthy young man with the whole world at his feet, and the next morning I was kneeling at his bed holding his hand, yesterday so strong and today so still… I could not believe that my boy was not able to feel my grip or even his own body, nothing… Konrad – the Konrad – our soldier, always the best at sports, now could only blink his eyes with the rest of his body lying uselessly inert on a hospital bed… At one moment you are home watching TV, preparing supper, feeling relaxed, untroubled, happy and just in a few hours, you are in a hospital and you hear doctors saying that it’s not good, that it’s really bad, that you can start preparing yourself to say ‘good bye’ because your child can die any moment… “It is not good” – that’s what I heard from my son on the phone while I was calling him absolutely petrified just a minute after his commander had phoned to inform us about the accident. I only heard “IT IS NOT GOOD” and then he hung up…

Every day we drive, travel to work or school by bus or tram with our heads full of dreams and plans not even thinking that just one moment, one curve on the road and everything can be over. And yes, it was only this one curve, the last one before the gate to the military unit to which Konrad was returning from a short ride. We do not exactly know what happened, the only information we got was that he was driving slowly, respecting the traffic regulations – we heard it from the policemen present at the accident site – for just a split second my son lost control over his motorbike, flew over it and fell onto a traffic safety barrier. Konrad’s head hit against this barrier, his helmet cracked and his spine broke as a result of which one of the vertebrae slipped onto the neighbouring one causing a partial spinal cord transection… and that was it… 

The final result of the injury was quadriplegia – paralysis of all four limbs.

Konrad Mielczarek

It took us five long hours to get to the hospital because we had to drive across Poland to the place where Konrad was studying. The only thing I can remember from our journey is overwhelming fear, however, at the hardest and most traumatic moments we desperately look for some sort of comfort or re

lief and fear gets immediately replaced by its mirror reflection – HOPE. Yes, I know, hope can be even more cruel at times as it lets us fly up real high only to make our fall ever more painful… On our way to the hospital we were full of hope, we hoped that Konrad had had “just” an accident, that he had “only” broken his spine and that his surgery would end up successful…

MRI scanning showed something different… Konrad suffered from the partial spinal cord transection… Doctors assured us that they had done their best but his condition was really bad. The injury was exceptionally serious and our son was disabled. At that moment the main challenge ahead of Konrad was to fight for his life!

Planes… you could find them in absolutely every room in our house. Child’s dreams often evolve with time but not Konrad’s – he always knew that the only thing that he wanted to do in his life was to fly, to become a military pilot. He chose to study at the Secondary Aviation School and then at The Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin – thousands of candidates to study there! But Konrad is stubborn and he set all his mind on it! He was patient, persistent, persevering. He got one of the highest scores among the candidates admitted to the Secondary Aviation School. We were so proud of him! No words can describe our pride and joy… He had that very special look, a gleam of happiness in his eyes… Discipline, military drill, physical exercise – he loved that! I felt this very special warmth in my heart each time I saw a new picture of Konrad wearing his Air Force uniform. 

Konrad Mielczarek

Today, instead of green military uniforms surrounding Konrad these are the green walls of a hospital ward… that memorable 5th of April 2016 has changed everything… When Konrad recovered from anaesthesia after his surgery the only move he was able to make was to blink his eyes. The rest of his body was totally inert, he was not able to move his hands and legs… Breathing brought unbelievable pain as his lungs were crushed. Doctors warned us that he might not make it and any type of infection could kill him any moment…

I have never met a stronger and more persistent person than my son. For the first few weeks, he was breathing using only his diaphragm which was possible thanks to his exceptional physical shape before the accident. Many would break down in his condition, but not my son! Just as he was persistently striving to become a pilot, today he is strenuously fighting to regain his fitness. For over a year I have been observing how from a person able to move only his head Konrad has become a person able to move around in a wheelchair. Even though he does not feel his body below his chest and the palms of his hands are limp Konrad is doing his best not to be dependent on others. He wants to do everything by himself, he washes himself, gets dressed, puts socks on using his teeth… My son is a natural born fighter. For me he is and will always be a real soldier.

Without intensive rehabilitation Konrad would have never achieved what he has today. After he left hospital we took him to a rehabilitation centre, then to another and still another… Every single day Konrad does strenuous exercise and learns how to live with his disability. But the costs of his rehabilitation are enormously high…. A monthly cost of his stay at a rehabilitation facility reaches PLN9,000, excluding the costs of basic hygiene products, medication or necessary orthopaedic equipment – all indispensable for everyday functioning. Me and my husband are qualified pedagogues. I needed to stop working to take care of my son. We also have two other children. Right after Konrad’s accident my husband lost his job. Our family was getting one blow after another and until today we have not managed to put ourselves back together mentally, emotionally and financially. We never could have imagined that we would have to ask other people for help, but it seems we have no choice now...

Konrad Mielczarek

Konrad is strong and exceptionally determined in his struggle for recovery. It is really hard for us to admit it but we do not have enough money to help our child put back together the scattered pieces of his life. He will not work as a military pilot but he still can study at a university, he still can learn to live without our assistance, he still can enjoy life… He has already come to terms with the sad fact that he will not regain the use of his legs, however, there is still hope that he will be able to use the palms of his hands! By the way, have you ever thought how hard it could be to live without your fingers being not able to hold or grip things and use your wrists instead???

I do not let myself lose hope, I do not let myself surrender. I cannot do it, I just don’t want to. If only I could take my son’s disability over on myself I would take it, I would bear this cross, if only HE were healthy and fully fit again. Unfortunately it is not possible… But there is one thing I still can do – I can beg for your support as it is the only way in which I can help my child. Some time ago I felt ashamed to ask for help, but now I know that it is no shame to ask for help – the shame is to surrender. “Surrender” – you will not find this word in my son’s dictionary, oh no!! Konrad teaches me every single day that one should never surrender because only those who keep fighting till the very end can win…

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