What does it mean to be strong? Are we considered strong when lifting heavy weights in a gym? Or, when parading in the body of a Greek statue? Milosz can hardly hold a pen in his hand, yet he has the strength that the best bodybuilders envy. This force has allowed him to avoid death.
The truth is, he shouldn’t be alive. Patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy rarely reach their thirties, and Milosz is 35 years old. He’s still among us only thanks to his extraordinary determination and immeasurable optimism.
It all started years ago. Milosz was just an ordinary, energetic boy, one of these children, who is considered a bright spark. Nothing prepared him for the misfortunes that would soon arrive his way. He was 6 years old when his parents noticed the difference in the length of his legs. The search for the cause lasted months. It’s when the boy was taken to a clinic in Bytom (Poland) that the desperate parents heard the monstrous diagnosis... Their child was supposed to live at most a dozen years.
Milosz did not understand what was going on around him. He was still a little boy. He didn’t know why yet another doctor visited him, why so much research and drugs are needed. He was still the same cheerful child, but the disease progressed very quickly. Day after day, his muscles were getting weaker and weaker. When the dystrophy glued him to a wheelchair, Milosz was only 11 years old...
He was getting smaller. It was increasingly difficult for him to go to school. Whatever independence he was able to achieve, the disease took away from him. Just like a newborn, he needed care in the simplest and most intimate way. Although doctors' predictions did not leave a margin of hope, Milosz's parents did not lose faith. Whenever they could, they were looking for help for their son.
The first ray of hope appeared in 2001. It was then that Milosz's parents learned about the possibility of transplanting myoblast cells. He qualified for the transplant, but the surgery was valued at $150,000. This is how a fundraising frenzy started. Milosz and his parents organized concerts, festivals, wrote countless letters... They moved mountains to give their son a chance to live. Their efforts paid off. Milosz flew to South Korea for a transplant.
The improvement in Milosz’s health surprised even doctors. He was getting better and better. He was able to accomplish tasks that not so long ago he needed help with. He could eat, drink and even pick up an apple. He was happy because he finally believed that his life was not a death sentence, that fighting the adversary made sense. Moreover, winning the fight became a possibility, or at least, the weakening of the disease.
The transplantation of myoblasts should be repeated after four years, so the effect could be kept. Unfortunately, the second time the financial barrier proved to be insurmountable... Milosz’s well-being lasted only eight years. Eight beautiful years, during which he accomplished many things like graduating from college. And then the disease struck with redoubled strength.
For Milosz, it was a true test of character. Again, he needed to rely on others for the smallest tasks, but he didn’t give up. He knew that tears couldn’t change his situation. Instead, he infected others with optimism. It was his strong spirit that impressed the woman who is his fiancé today, who loves him the way he is. The disability is not an obstacle to their love. It was through his incredible determination that he found a job that made him feel important and needed.
In spite of his illness, he did everything to live normally.
Milosz learned about stem cell transplant from television. He immediately began to act. He consulted people that received this transplant as well as many specialists. During the process, it became clear that it was another chance at having a normal life. The last chance, because the progressing illness allowed less and less time for effective treatment.
Milosz's family managed to raise money for the first few cells. The improvement was palpable. Milosz again breathed better, spoke more clearly. Now, he enjoys every little thing he can do by himself. However, this is not even halfway, and to maintain this state, further treatments are needed. Concerts, auctions and charity parties are not enough. We need your help, because we know that you can do miracles.
Every single day, Milosz's whole life is about fighting for every breath, for the smallest movement. Despite his determination, Milosz will not win the battle alone. He needs you. Death looked into his eyes for nearly thirty years, and now, when he has the chance to overcome the struggle, only money prevents him from succeeding…